The North Dakota Department of Health is looking for more medical staff to help with COVID-19 testing.
A majority of the people conducting tests on a daily basis are nurses, and as hospitals fill up, so does the need for those nurses.
Across the state, healthcare workers have been lending a hand since March with testing, meaning when they aren’t working at hospitals, clinics and long-term care, they are swabbing for positives or negatives.
“A lot of them are working multiple jobs and so maybe they are 12-hour shifts at the hospital three days a week, but they have four more days so they spend their time coming to us doing testing missions,” said Summer Schmitcke, a registered nurse with Sanford Health and the Department of Health.
123 registered nurses spend time helping out but with hospitals filling up there is a need for them to devote more time to inpatient care.
Registered Nurse Schmitcke is one of many picking up shifts when they can.
“The patient is what comes first and that’s just the main priority. We want to keep them safe. If we can do anything to put these nurses back into the hospitals and that’s the goal. I mean that’s what we need to be doing,” explained Schmitcke.
The Department of Health is looking to hire more paramedics, EMTs and medical technicians to free nurses schedules up.
“What we want to do is shift those nurses out of that role and into roles where they’re providing direct patient care in hospitals. In long-term care settings for residents and those types of settings,” explained Tim Wiedrich, the Section Chief for Health Resources and Response with the Department of Health.
The position would last as long as the virus continues and cases continue to rise in the state.
The Department of Health is also providing an opportunity for CNA training that consists of an online course and skill training