Nebraska nursing shortage leads to patient diversion

Grand Island, Neb.-based CHI Health St. Francis has had to turn patients away due to its limited nursing staff, according to The Grand Island Independent.

If the hospital's nurses are out sick or on maternity leave, it has to divert patients to local hospitals, according to the report. "The diversion issue is really hard for all of us," Beth Bartlett, CHI St. Francis vice president for patient care services told The Grand Island Independent. She noted, however, that this nurse shortage goes beyond St. Francis. The hospital recently had to call four hospitals before it could divert two patients, according to the report.

Ms. Bartlett said CHI Health St. Francis has to divert patients to keep safety in mind, and part of that is making sure ample nursing staff is available to care for patients. If a patient arrives in an emergency condition, the hospital stabilizes the patient before diversion, if necessary, according to the report.

The area is already "overbedded," she told The Grand Island Independent, and the issue stems from its small workforce. Adding another hospital to the mix would just divide the workforce, she said, according to the report.


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