Burleigh-Morton county jail impacted by nurse shortage

Local News

A nationwide nurse shortage is making hiring difficult for many medical providers in the state, and even one county jail.

The Burleigh-Morton County Detention Center currently has one nurse for about 260 inmates. With any major medical issues, Burleigh County Sheriff Kelly Leben says it’s costly to send inmates to a hospital when a nurse isn’t available to provide assistance.

Leben says they have three positions total with two open, but it’s difficult to attract candidates. He says certified medication assistants have been able to fill the gap, but they’re still looking to hire.

“We’re competing against some big medical facilities in the area. As I said many times, I don’t think people go to college saying I want to be a nurse in the jail,” Leben said. “I think it takes people that have that special desire and we just got to keep working until we find that person.”

Leben says the county did recently make a conditional offer for a nurse supervisor position, and he’s requested four nurse positions in the 2022 budget.

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