Rural Mississippi hospitals experience nurse shortages amid pandemic

Coronavirus

COVINGTON COUNTY, Miss. (WHLT) – The nursing shortage is hitting every hospital, but the rural areas feel it harder than most areas.

Clancy Sanford, Marketing Director for Covington County Hospitals, said, “At this point the last time I checked, we are seeing about 5,000 patients a week across our clinic system.”

A majority of those patients need assistance at the drive-thru testing center, vaccine and antibody testing center.

“Nurses just have a lot more on their plate these days because of the astronomical amount of people who need care, so I think that’s the biggest issue right now. They can’t really catch a break because there’s so many people needing healthcare right now,” Sanford explained.

Governor Tate Reeves (R-Miss.) announced on Tuesday that about 1,000 healthcare workers from across the country are being dispatched to Mississippi hospitals to help with understaffing.

The nursing shortage was a problem before the pandemic, but the pandemic is making it more difficult.

“We’re thankful for the healthcare workers that we do have that are facing this on a day to day basis, putting in the overtime, showing up on a daily basis, ready to take care of people. They’re really the heroes of this pandemic,” said Sandford.

According to the American Nurses Association, more nursing jobs are available through 2022, and employment opportunities are expected to increase by 15 percent over the next five years.

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