Sunday, December 26, 2021

Bill Crawford: Pray for Good Health During Nursing Shortage

 Join with me in a New Year’s prayer that we and our loved ones can stay out of hospitals and their emergency rooms during 2022.


Nothing against hospitals and ERs. On the contrary, they have saved my life several times over the past three years. The following headlines from across Mississippi explain my prayer.

“Shortage of healthcare workers reaching ‘critical’ point at Mississippi hospitals” – in Biloxi.

“Mississippi hospitals ask leaders for help amid nursing shortage” – in Jackson.

“Healthcare leaders describe nursing shortage at Mississippi Senate hearing” – Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal in Tupelo.

During 2021 I visited ERs four times, most recently last Wednesday afternoon. The room was packed, but not with COVID patients. These were people with a wide array of health issues, all jammed up waiting for their chance to be seen. I saw ER patients who had been waiting 12 to 15 hours to move through the system. Staff told me at times the wait was even longer. 

We knew ERs and hospitals were backed up during the COVID peaks, but why now?

The nursing shortage. 

To understand that we need to understand patient flow through ERs. Patients get triaged then placed in ER beds. Some are fortunate enough to get treated and go home. Others must move on to intensive care beds or hospital beds. When those beds are not available, the ER must hold them until an opening occurs. That backs up patient flow.

Kim Hoover, the Chief Operating Officer for the Mississippi Hospital Association, explained that just because hospitals have unoccupied hospital and ICU beds doesn’t mean they can put patients in them. Sufficient nursing staff must be available to service those beds. Without sufficient staff, hospitals have to close beds down. 

A Greenwood Commonwealth story explained that nurse, therapist, and technician shortages forced Greenwood Leflore Hospital to close beds and divert patients elsewhere. “At one point earlier this month, the closest hospital with an open and staffed bed was in Arkansas.”

Last week my doctor attempted to admit me directly to the hospital to receive intravenous antibiotics. But a bed was not available. Instead he sent me to the ER to begin the drip and wait for a room. I was fortunate. My wait was only seven hours. 

Hoover told legislators that 50 hospitals have reported 950 registered nurse vacancies. She said many quit after becoming burnt out during the pandemic and others left to become contract or travel nurses to obtain far higher wages out of state. 

Millions in federal dollars are available to help ease this crisis in Mississippi. But until the governor and legislative leaders decide to help, the situation can only worsen.

Pray they will help. Then as you pray that you and yours can stay well, pray more for those who cannot. 

PS: I lift up the many nurses and doctors who have gone to such great lengths to provide me excellent care over the past three years. Their service and benevolence under stress overwhelms me.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” – Thessalonians 5:16-18.

Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Jackson.


Anonymous said...

Fake wishes

Anonymous said...

Pure and simple, nurses aren’t paid enough to attract high numbers of smart, motivated folks. The should start at 60-70 and be making 90-100 within 2 years.

Anonymous said...

Spoken like a nurse 10:05

Anonymous said...

@10:05am Agreed.

The health and well-being of Mississippians is not on the radar of Mississippi leaders too busy sniveling and snorting and the trough of gravy provided by those very same Mississippians. They are ALL corrupt to the bone, and only concerned with re-election.

Anonymous said...

"Pure and simple, nurses aren’t paid enough to attract high numbers of smart, motivated folks. The should start at 60-70 and be making 90-100 within 2 years. "

So, starting salary will be higher than medical school graduates with a genuine MD degree? Good luck with that, Skippy.

Anonymous said...

Great analysis 10:05. And just what economic model do you base this on, other than your own personal preference for the lifestyle you desire?

Anonymous said...

And yet some hospitals are forcing nurses and other healthcare workers (that worked through the worst of the pandemic) to take the vaccine or be fired. Also, travel nurses are making big bucks with no acknowledgement or financial incentive for the long time employees that have run the place for years. Maybe our crisis is in management.

Anonymous said...

Crawford can pound sand with as an earlier post said “fake wishes”.
Nothing good ever came from Meridian.

Anonymous said...

There are millions of competent English speaking nurses in the Philippines who would be more than happy to come work. Start offering H1B Visas.

Anonymous said...

@3:13 PM - Millions? Seriously? Get real.

Kingfish said...

Mississippi has faced a shortage of health care workers for quite some time. Our hospitals should be jumping on the opportunity out of state hospitals are giving us and hire their fired workers. Oeschner just fired 250 workers who wouldn't take the vaccine, for example.

Anonymous said...

Hey Fish no one, not one of them wants to come the Mississippi

Anonymous said...

Mr. Crawford fails to elaborate that the nursing shortage is also due to the health care system being overwhelmed by those that have self-inflicted illnesses.

Anonymous said...

2013 before any g damn fake pandemic or fake nursing shortage my father about died while waiting in a ER full of democrats and half their family over unseen maladies. In other words , fakers trying to get some pills and young mothers who spend half the week in the ER or the sniffles . So, nurses ,doctors and Cna’s basically pass their frustrations and laziness on to those in real need. COVID and questionable pay for CNA’s has sent the system into free fall.

Anonymous said...

Texas legislature recently passed a law that if a nurse resigns in Texas, she cannot become a contract nurse in Texas.

That is why Texas is stealing a lot of our nurses.

Anonymous said...

management is always the problem and they are responsible for the soaring costs of health care, higher education, gasoline, groceries and just about anything else these days.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, a nurse that leaves Mississippi for Texas in order to receive a higher rate of pay is not being stolen.

It is not the responsibility of Mississippi state government to subsidize a higher rate of pay for nurses statewide.

Anonymous said...

10:53 Agreed!
Should the State be responsible for paying me more for because i think im worth it ? ? For what?

Anonymous said...

Crawford continues to pound sand for the hospitals (for which he represented well while on the board and sending weekly tirades against the Governor), for his desire for the state to pay for training of private sector workers for his hospitals, and for the governmental expansion (that is - the government's paying for) more Medicaid services to help his poor hospitals that are going broke, according to him and his association without regard to the actual numbers of patients that they serve on a daily basis as a hospital, not an emergency room.

Anonymous said...

If prayer worked, we wouldn't need the nurses.

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