Triad health services need more nurses, other staff to provide contact tracing and COVID testing
(WGHP) – At least two health departments are reporting a shortage of nurses amid concerns over the spread of the omicron variant.
Guilford and Forsyth counties health directors say recruitment and retention has been more difficult than ever.
In Guilford County, there are approximately 30 nursing positions open, including school nurses, clinic and community nurses, and supervisors.
In Forsyth County, the health department has an overall vacancy rate of 26%. The vacancy rate among nurses is 43%.
“We depend on nurses to be able to provide these services to the community,” Dr. Iulia Vann said Thursday. “Our team members are exhausted, they have difficulty with childcare, so many of them have had to choose their family over their profession. It’s really hard to get them on board.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is funding 23 positions to alleviate possible post-vacation stress, but they are not nurses.
“We knew it was going to be very difficult to hire and train and onboard specific nurses, and that’s why we really appreciated that the state allowed us to be flexible with the type. positions that we recruit, ”says Vann.
The Forsyth County Department of Health and Human Services hopes to increase the number of nurses at schools like Winston-Salem State University.
Currently, the nursing school has a reduced number of applicants and fewer faculty members available to teach.
“We have to get them out of nursing school, and we can train them to do what we need them to do, if we can’t even get them out of nursing school, we can’t not at all helping our workforce, ”the deputy said. County manager Shontell Robinson said.
Robinson hopes the bonus will serve as a retention tool for existing nurses, giving qualified employees $ 1 to $ 2,000 on Dec. 17.
“Everyone will benefit, it’s funding through the American Rescue Plan Act, and there are categories of eligibility,” she said.
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