MINOT, N.D. (KXNET) — Hospitals around the country are facing a shortage of healthcare workers, including nurses, and that’s no different here in North Dakota.
Nurses across the country are in high demand, but other positions inside clinics and hospitals are becoming increasingly hard to fill.
“We’ve seen a shortage of nurses, as well as a lot of other employees, disciplines, across the entire organization entity really. And it has gotten worse since the pandemic,” said Karen Zimmerman, the chief nursing officer and vice president of Patient Care Services at Trinity Health.
Zimmerman says while the number of incoming nurses from Minot State University and Dakota College at Bottineau have stayed the same, the schools may have fewer instructors so class sizes may be smaller, and nursing staff at Minot State agree.
“That’s actually something that is a problem nationwide. You’re finding that the nurses that are retiring or maybe leaving the bedside, you see the same with faculty. Faculty have to have higher degrees to work in the profession and so sometimes that’s hard to find. And so, sometimes that determines how many students we can take in. We have had good luck here as far as maintaining good, quality faculty,” said Carrie Lewis, an assistant professor in the Minot State Nursing Department.
Another thing that can lead to lower nurses is burnout.
Zimmerman says research shows that many nurses quit within their first year, so Trinity Health started a mentorship program to help with that.
“Our academic partnerships do a great job of setting up the foundation, but there’s a gap between what our academic partners can prepare someone for and what’s actually the real world of nursing. So a residency is really intended to really bridge that gap. So you have didactic or some education on things that maybe they don’t get in a formal education program,” said Zimmerman.
Lewis says not every hospital provides a program like this, and many students say that this is a major selling point for Trinity Health and other hospitals with similar programs.
“Graduating 20 years ago in this community, we did not have a program like that and I still remember how hard that first year was. But I think that things like that really need to be the focus how we are changing the way we do things because we know that there is a big nursing shortage and we really need to keep those nurses at the bedsides with our patients,” said Lewis.
Trinity Health also offers a Resiliency Room to help them relax the troubles of the day away, also lessening the chance for burnout.
Trinity Health established a scholarship program in 2016 to provide scholarships for those interested in entering the nursing profession, or for those who may want to turn their associate nursing degree into a bachelor’s.
It is still active to this day. And the deadline is November 1.