WVU School of Nursing responds to shortage

Published: Dec. 22, 2021 at 6:48 PM EST
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va (WDTV) - West Virginia is seeing a major shortage of nurses and state officials say the state has seen a steady decline in nurses over the past two years due to burnout.

“With the nursing shortage, I just feel it’s...it’s and I truly mean this, it’s been the most humbling experiences to come back to the acute care side of things and see what these nurses are going through day after day after day,”

One of the ways wvu school of nursing is responding to the shortage is by allowed nursing faculty members to take a patient assignment with rns.

Faculty member at the nursing school Sandra Cotton was assigned in late September to the WVU Medicine cardiac floor where nurses in that unit have taken on many additional responsibilities, including trauma care and covid patient care.

“I can tell that...In the military we call it ‘mission fatigue’ you know when you’ve been deployed for so long...it’s fatiguing,” said Cotton.

Cotton says with her military background, it was an easy decision to answer that call from the school.

“With the whole thing with the pandemic and the nursing shortage came up and the call came up from the school looking for additional help, I just felt like it was a duty and obligation to do what I could,” said Cotton.

Health officials say since the pandemic gained momentum, there is a larger patient to staff ratio.

“We have gone through a lot with the whole covid and how it has changed nursing and how it has changed our floor dynamics and things like that so it’s been a little a bit of a struggle with staff coming and going but we all try to bond together and make sure we have each other’s backs,” Registered nurse at Ruby Memorial Hospital Allyson McCormick.

Both McCormick and Cotton say even with the vacancies, they are pulling together.

“She is my ‘she’ro, Cotton says about McCormick.

The board of nurses also helped recruit retired nurses in good standing to return to the workforce, offering them same-day licenses to meet the demands. The dean said the nursing school had an extraordinary response from students as well.

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