COVID-19 omicron surge continues to put strain on North Texas nurses

As COVID-19 continues to strain hospital staffs, nurses are some of those who are most affected.

"We are kind of facing a lot of burn out, as a lot of nurses have been at this for over 20 months now," Texas Nurses Association Board Member Mary Vitullo said.

She shared what many medical facilities are dealing with when it comes to a current shortage of bedside nurses. 

"Sometimes nurses call in. They just don’t want to pick up extra shifts anymore because they are just tired and worn out," Vitullo said. "So the main thing that’s causing a lot of this is kind of a perfect storm where patient acuity has kind of gotten greater over the last two years."

Vitullo did not share what hospital she works for, but did reveal how the recent increase in the number of patients, due to the omicron variant, has taken a toll. 

This has caused some in the medical community to caution about the possibility of compromised patient care.

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[REPORTER: "The level of patient care perhaps being compromised somewhat when you have such a large workload, is that something you have to deal with?"]

"The part of what I’m seeing though that makes things challenging is maybe care is not so much compromised, but patients are coming in sicker. So they might require more time, more energy," Vitullo responded.

Vitullo said another challenge to mitigate is nurses leaving permanent positions to work on temporary traveling assignments.  She said there are benefits and drawbacks in that scenario. 

"Maybe they don’t know the equipment as well, maybe they don’t have a good understanding of the policies and procedures that’s all new to them, but in one instance they’re making a lot more money. It’s just kind of a balancing act," she added.