A huge NJ nurses rally is planned for Thursday
👩⚕️ Nursing shortage still getting worse in NJ
👩⚕️ A rally is planned in support of establishing nurse staffing standards
👩⚕️ Many nurses planning to quit and start other careers
With the New Jersey nursing shortage continuing to get worse, nurses and other health care workers from across the Garden State will rally at the Statehouse on Thursday.
They will be calling on lawmakers to support a bill that would establish minimum nurse staffing standards for hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers and some state Department of Human Services facilities.
According to Judy Schmidt, the CEO of the New Jersey State Nurses Association a new survey finds almost a third of all nurses are strongly considering quitting their jobs because they are overworked and continuing to suffer from pandemic burnout.
We need more nurses
She said the challenge of establishing minimum nurse staffing standards is to actually figure out a way to get enough nurses back into our hospitals to cover the positions.
"You now it’s really nice to have the ratio, but if you don’t have the nurse we’re still in the same situation, we need to get more people interested in becoming nurses, both females and males," she said.
She stressed "we need to work on getting enough nurses back into the bedside and be able to have what we call safe staffing measures."
It's a juggling act
Cathy Bennett, the president and CEO of the New Jersey Hospital Association said even before the pandemic started we were facing a growing nursing shortage and as a result "when we look at what we do with shifts, you’ll see a lot of nurses showing flexibility, they do other shifts, sometimes they do overtime, and other times we use nursing agency staff."
Schmidt pointed out we do need to find ways to attract more students to nursing schools but "there’s also a very critical shortage of nursing faculty, so it’s a very, very complex issue, I don’t see a resolution coming in the next 1 to 5 years."
Bennett agreed there is no quick fix to addressing the nursing shortage problem.
"We’ve got a lot of long-term systemic issues that are tied to nursing and to other professions within health care that we know need to be addressed."
She added "our nurses are healthcare heroes, whether it was during the pandemic or even now in our endemic state, and we’re so glad everyone recognizes the critical role that they play."
David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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