Divemedic has many years of experience working in the US hospital system. He offers this insight about what's going on now in his Florida hospital. I've confirmed that much the same thing is happening in some hospitals in Texas, Tennessee and Colorado, because I have contacts in all of them.
We have been short staffed for nearly three years. They have made up the shortfall by paying huge bonuses to get nurses to work extra shifts. They tried foreign workers. Still, they don’t have enough. Determined to save money now that the COVID funding has dried up, hospital administration announced on Saturday that there will be no more bonuses offered. Once the shifts that are already promised bonuses are paid out, they will be no more. Nurses who were making $2500 a day for working a 12 hour over time shift are now being asked to work the same overtime hours, but for $600-$900 each 12 hour shift.
I know that I was working 60 hours or more a week. I was making good money to do that, but now that the money has dried up, I am not working those kinds of hours for a fraction of the pay. No one that I know is willing to do that.
So now the entire staff of the ED is not taking any extra shifts. They are working their contracted hours, and that is it.
. . .
Now instead of 60% staffed, you are more like 45% staffed. Instead of 10 nurses, you only have 7. Now picture that across the entire hospital. A 600 bed hospital with a 50 bed ED requires 100 nurses or more each shift. You only have 50 or 60. Now what do you do? There aren’t enough foreign workers to fill that many spots.
My hospital can’t be alone in this. Here is the warning: there is a potential collapse of health care coming. It takes 3 to 4 years to train a nurse to the point where they are licensed, and another 2 years or so for that nurse to be proficient enough in their job to staff an ED, even longer for places like the ICU.
There's more at the link.
Best advice? Don't get sick or injured badly enough to need hospital treatment. If you do, pray your local hospital (or wherever you're admitted) has enough qualified, competent staff to treat you appropriately and professionally, and isn't hamstrung by political correctness.
There's also the question of whether the right medications will be available, in sufficient quantities, to keep us alive.
As of Thursday [2022/09/15], the Food and Drug Administration reported 184 drug shortages nationwide. The Association of Health-System Pharmacists put the figure higher, tracking a scarcity of 210 drugs.
U.S. drug shortages may be caused by a host of issues, including manufacturing and quality problems and delays and discontinuations, along with a regulatory system seen by many healthcare providers as more reactive than proactive in making fixes.
It's a long-standing problem worsened by supply chain issues and huge demands during the COVID-19 pandemic, with many drugs languishing on the shortage lists for months or years.
. . .
Hospitals may face more challenges from shortages of fluids or diluents, intravenous oncology and antibiotic medications, "and supportive care, as well as supplies such as needles that are necessary to deliver the medications," Mesfin Tegenu, CEO and chairman of RxParadigm, a Delaware-based pharmacy benefits manager, told UPI in an email.
By contrast, doctors' offices may have more challenges from shortages of drugs dispensed at the pharmacy level, such as cardiovascular and analgesic medications, he said.
. . .
"It's the juggling act on top of severe staffing shortages. I think that's what is making it worse right now. Before it was 'drug shortages on top of COVID.' Now it's 'drug shortages on top of staffing shortages,'" said Erin Fox, senior pharmacy director at University of Utah Health and adjunct professor at the University of Utah College of Pharmacy.
Again, more at the link.
This strikes close to home. I've had two heart attacks, both requiring emergency admission to hospital. In each case, the medications I needed were on hand, and a cardiologist was available within an hour or two, and the ER and cardiac unit staff were able to keep me alive and kicking until corrective procedures could be performed. Today? I have to wonder . . . and that's a scary thought.