Staffing shortage impacting Jonesboro hospital

Published: Jul. 29, 2021 at 9:49 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 29, 2021 at 11:11 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Governor Asa Hutchinson declared a public emergency at Thursday’s weekly COVID briefing, stating hospitals were experiencing shortages in staff.

St. Bernards Assistant Vice President of Nursing Emily McGee says they have been affected by the shortage, adding the reasons range between medical leave, testing positive for COVID-19, “whether they’ve gotten it out at the community, at home, or at work.”

McGee mentioned the hospital has a plan in place for when they do not have enough help for bedside care, including her stepping in to help when needed.

“I’m a nurse,” McGee said. “I’ll definitely drop my job and go take care of a patient.”

The governor stated he plans to reach out to states who are not heavily impacted by the Delta variant and bring in more nurses.

With St. Bernards being considered the “referral hub” for 23 counties, McGee anticipates they will see more outside help.

“We do have travel nurses now that are from different states and hope to only see that increase,” she said.

Region 8 News received a statement Thursday afternoon from NEA Baptist CEO Sam Lynd on their staffing situation saying:

“NEA Baptist is always focused on developing a culture of empathy and compassion both for patients and our team members.

Early in the pandemic when other health systems laid off staff, we enhanced the capability and flexibility of our staffing levels in preparation for the surge to come. Even as COVID volumes fell, we have continued to recognize the ongoing work of our staff through numerous programs that include financial, emotional, and spiritual support.

While other organizations now attempt to draw valuable talent away from our communities, we continue to commit to maintaining safe staffing levels and using new technology to balance workloads to help reduce staff overload and stress.

We are proud of those who have chosen to stay and fight for Northeast Arkansas until this pandemic ends, and are committed to supporting them in every way we can.”

Marketing Director Ty Jones says they are currently not experiencing a shortage.

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