Nursing shortage closing some hospital units down in Mississippi
by: Bria Jones
A hospital crisis is looming in Mississippi as the state sees its highest vacancy rate for nurses in a decade.
Officials believe the labor shortage coupled with stress during the pandemic is a major factor.
Another issue that reports show is that hundreds of potential students are being turned away amid the shortage. One student, Khristianna Culbert, shared her personal experience.
“One of the factors being there is a lack of faculty, education spaces, and resources needed to create new nurses. Over 1,000 applications are sent to nursing programs each year but many are declined due to the lack of faculty,” Culbert said.
Data from the Mississippi Hospital Association shows vacancy rates for 2022 range from 14 percent to almost 29 percent for Mississippi counties in the Mid-South.
The impact is also being felt way beyond the region.
“For hospitals that are short nurses, they’ve had to close down whole floors. They’ve had to end service lines. We’re hearing about labor and delivery units closing all over the state,” said Devna Bose, healthcare reporter for Mississippi Today.
So what can be done to turn things around? Lanalle Weems, the director of the Center of Quality and Workforce at the Mississippi Hospital Foundation, said recruiting will be key.
“We need more faculty. We need more scholarship funding for our students. We need more nurses to come out in the workplace and have an RN. Come to the hospitals and work,” Weems said.
We have reached out to officials to learn how this will impact local hospitals. We’re expecting to get those numbers Tuesday.