How a nationwide nursing shortage is impacting southern West Virginia hospitals

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PRINCETON, WV (WVNS) — A nursing shortage is sweeping the nation and hospitals in our backyard are feeling the effects.

“Well we have been going through the most significant nursing shortage in history for quite a few years now,” said Rose Morgan, Chief Nursing Officer at Princeton Community Hospital.

Princeton Community Hospital is working through several years of a nursing shortage. At PCH, normally a nursing shortage means one thing.

“It means minimum amounts of staff that have to be available to provide the patient care,” said Mark Pickett, the Emergency Preparedness Coordinator and Education Instructor at PCH.

However, Pickett explained the shortages do not stop with nurses.

“Respiratory therapists, medical lab technologists, phlebotomists, I mean the list goes on and on as to the shortages in health care both in our area and across the nation,” said Pickett.

Pickett said the shortage forces them to rely on contract agencies to find nurses to get the job done. With the added pressure the pandemic applies, it is taking a toll on their staff.

“Its been very difficult to go through this pandemic and the challenges the pandemic itself has brought upon us on top of the nursing shortage,” said Morgan.

With the number of positive COVID-19 cases climbing, and the Delta variant popping up in the surrounding counties, people at PCH are afraid of what the coming months may bring

“The impact from this really creates a lot more issues with the nursing shortage,” said Morgan.

Morgan said right now the best way to get through the shortage is to cherish the staff they have.

“We have great nurses that work here we have resilient people and we try to do our best to let them know how much they are appreciated and how much they are needed,” said Morgan.

The goal at PCH is to get the next generation interested in nursing at a young age.

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