Breaking Point for Health Workers

They have done their jobs, and their jobs have done them in.
18 months into the pandemic, exhausted US health workers are grappling with burnout as COVID-19 cases are increasing yet again.  

  • In Arkansas, some workers are leaving hospitals in the middle of their shift, The Washington Post reports. A Little Rock hospital has a shortage of 200 nurses.
  • In Texas, the number of openings for registered nurses exceeds the number seeking jobs by 23,000, according to the Texas Tribune.

Near term: Besides staff shortages, the spiking case numbers are fueling health worker desperation. The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the US have nearly quadrupled in the past month to 45,000 (though that’s still short of the 124,000 reached in January), the Post reports.
Bleak future: The nursing shortage is expected to worsen by 2030 as retirements pile up and some nurses transition to being nurse practitioners or taking other jobs. By 2034, the US will have a shortage of 37,800 to 124,000 physicians, according to June data from the Association of American Medical Colleges.
Mental health toll: Nearly 20% of physicians know a fellow physician who has considered, attempted, or died by suicide since the pandemic began, according to a survey released yesterday by the Physicians Foundation.

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