'The exhaustion is palpable': Hospital chiefs plead for support as staff resilience runs thin

The ability of a hospital or health system to maintain appropriate staffing levels is one of the most pressing challenges executives now face amid a nationwide resurgence of COVID-19. As such, many are making pleas to their state for help.

At the start of the pandemic, securing personal protective equipment and supplies were top priorities for hospital leaders. But Bruce White, the CEO of Knox Community Hospital in Mount Vernon, Ohio, told knoxpages in a Nov. 21 report, "That's not the issue now, it is manpower. It is the skilled resources."

He added: "Every day, [front-line staff] do miracles. But they can't perform magic. They're tired, and they're doing a great job, but they do need the support of our state. They need folks to do the right thing, so that we don't overwhelm our hospital resources."

It's a sentiment echoed by the industry's largest hospital and clinical groups. In a Nov. 19 open letter from the American Medical Association, American Hospital Association and American Nurses Association, the organizations pleaded with Americans to do their part to protect healthcare workers by scaling back traditional holiday gatherings to mitigate COVID-19 spread.

Like Mr. White, Robert Corona, MD, the CEO of Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse, N.Y., said he's increasingly worried about staff burnout.

"The exhaustion is palpable," he told CNY Central in a Nov. 20 report. "So while we're all craving human contact with family and you don't want to wear a mask because it's uncomfortable, think about these people pulling out twelve-hour shifts sometimes longer with a mask on."

Eight hospital executives recently shared with Becker's how they're addressing staff shortages. Click here to read more.

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