Friday, September 24, 2021

Vaccine mandates worsen nursing shortages

Vaccine mandate complicates California's nursing shortage | Becker's Hospital Review - Kelly Gooch:

August 30th, 2021 - "Many California hospitals are experiencing staffing shortages as the pandemic takes a toll on healthcare workers, and the state's new COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers is adding another layer to the issue, CalMatters reported Aug. 28. 

"Workers are emotionally and physically exhausted amid the public health crisis, according to the news organization. This is causing more nurses in the U.S., including in California, South Carolina and Mississippi, to leave their profession, retire early or take other assignments.  While burnout is contributing to shortages of nurses and other workers at hospitals, hospital administrators in California say the state vaccine mandate is also a factor, according to CalMatters. 

"The California Department of Public Health issued an order Aug. 5 requiring workers in healthcare to be ... fully vaccinated or receive their second shot by Sept. 30. Workers can apply for  an exemption for religious beliefs or qualifying medical reasons. Exempt workers must meet testing and safety requirements."

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Nurses Are In Short Supply. Employers Worry Vaccine Mandate Could Make It Worse | NPR - Andrea Hsu:

September 23, 2021 - "As part of his push to get more Americans vaccinated, Biden has essentially told 17 million health care workers: Get vaccinated or get out. He has not offered them the testing option he's given workers in most other industries. Details about how the federal vaccine mandate will be enforced have yet to be released, but already protests have become regular events outside hospitals, and employers are warning they could see large numbers of workers quit just when they're needed the most....

"In June, after a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by health care workers at Houston Methodist Hospital over its vaccine mandate, more than 150 workers quit or were fired. Lewis County General Hospital in upstate New York said it would stop delivering babies this month after six people in the maternity department quit over New York's vaccine mandate. In Maine, where the governor announced a vaccine mandate for health care workers in mid-August, hospitals are so far reporting only a handful of resignations, but enforcement of the mandate is still more than a month away.

"'I can't afford to lose anyone,' says Ted LeNeave, CEO of Accura HealthCare, which operates 34 nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota. Because of staffing shortages, they've had to limit admissions, turning down patients coming from hospitals.... 'I just don't see how I can lay off a thousand people," says LeNeave. I'd have no one to take care of the patients, and there's nowhere to send the patients.' He expects many will change professions to avoid getting the shots. Certified nursing assistants, who bathe, feed and groom nursing home residents, are among the lowest paid workers in the U.S. There are plenty of other options for those who want out."

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B.C. nurses say dire staffing crisis will worsen with health care vaccine mandate | CityNews 1130 - Liza Yuzda, Denise Wong, Nikitha Martins & Lisa Steacy:

September 14, 2021 - "While the BC Nurses’ Union is sounding the alarm, saying the province can’t afford to lose a single nurse due to the vaccine mandate for health care workers, the health minister says the move is necessary to contain COVID-19. Responding to concerns that losing unvaccinated staff could cause a systemic crash, Adrian Dix says they are preparing for the worst, which would be thousands of workers choosing not to be vaccinated for their job.... Dix says regardless, this is what must be done....

"Nearly 50,000 long-term and acute care workers have until Oct. 12 to be fully vaccinated. About 150,000 other workers in provincial health care facilities have until Oct. 26 to do so. On the heels of the announcement, the BC Nurses’ Union said while vaccinations are key, they can’t support any action that could lead to any nurses leaving their jobs. 

"Union vice-president Aman Grewal says all members are encouraged to get the vaccine, but the mandate comes amid a dire staffing crisis. 'The union is not in a position to support an order which will serve to remove even a single nurse or other health care worker from the health care system at a time of severe crisis, it’s just not something that we can do,' she says."

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