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Lexington hospitals, doctor’s offices feeling pinch of national nurse shortage

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 5:30 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A national nursing shortage is causing headaches for everyone involved in the healthcare industry.

Even before the pandemic, nurses were in short supply. Now, the shortage is now critical in some parts of the nation. Here in Lexington, some facilities are starting to feel the pinch, especially at doctor offices.

“We count on them for a lot of phone calls in the past, we count on them for giving shots, for helping room our patients and taking care of our patients when they’re in the office and sick,” said Dr. Katrina Hood, Pediatric & Adolescent Associates.

Patients may have to wait for telehealthcare as a result, as they prioritize in-person appointments.

“Starting in August, we’ve decided it’s most important for those patients in the office that need the shots or need the IV or need something to be taken care of, that the nurses help there,” Dr. Hood said.

Patients of Pediatric & Adolescent is feeling the pinch of these shortages and larger operations nationwide are also dealing with this issue. So, hospitals like Baptist Health Lexington are getting creative to make the best of the situation.

“The nursing shortage per se has not affected our care delivery,” said Whitney Heet, nursing director at Baptist Health. “It has not affected our operations. It does increase the way that we recruit and the way that we communicate with our staff”

Baptist Health’s aggressive recruitment strategy highlights how important it is to have a healthy amount of nurses on staff.

“Oh, we can’t function without our nurses,” Heet said. “We need our nurses to help take care of our patients and to be that frontline person.”

In the face of these challenges, she has a message for patients.

“Do not put things off. If you need to come to the hospital or seek care, please come,” Heet said. “Please come we are welcome to treat you and we want you to get treated versus staying at home.”

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