JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Data released in a Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES) study showed there’s an average of 1,635 registered nurse openings in the state.

“We had a nursing shortage nationwide even before COVID hit, and once COVID hit, it just blew us off our feet. We just didn’t see it coming,” said Isluv Robertson, owner of Sam’s Choice Healthcare.

Sam’s Choice Healthcare is having trouble finding nurses. Robertson is also a registered nurse.

“We have a set rate that the state allocates for us to pay our nurses, so it doesn’t increase. So just absolutely, we can’t compete,” she explained.

Robertson said they pay LPNs $20 to $26 an hour and registered nurses $27 to $33 an hour.

Right now, the nurses see about 20 patients. Robertson said she needs 10 to 15 nurses for each case to be fully staffed, but right now she’s at just four to six.

Sometimes Sam’s Choice Healthcare will get cases that haven’t been staffed in three to six months. Sometimes they have to outsource if they don’t have nurses in a particular area.