Dallas hospital transfers 23 pregnant patients amid staffing challenges

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Dallas-based Parkland Health & Hospital System has had to transfer pregnant patients to other area hospitals during the last few weeks because of staffing challenges.

In a statement shared with Becker's, Parkland Chief Medical Officer Joseph Chang, MD, said the number of pregnant patients transferred depends on need and will vary day to day. A total of 23 pregnant patients were transferred over the last two to three weeks.

"So far the need has not exceeded more than a few a day. It is an ongoing assessment every day," said Dr. Chang.

The staffing challenges come amid a COVID-19 wave affecting staffing at hospitals across the U.S. As of Aug. 13, Texas recorded the second highest number of daily average COVID-19 hospitalizations in the country, behind Florida, per The New York Times. And Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Aug. 11 the deployment of more than 2,500 medical workers to help hospitals care for COVID-19 patients.

At Parkland, there were 470 open full-time nursing positions as of Aug. 12.

According to Parkland Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer Donna Richardson, DNP, RN, the organization is tackling the nursing shortage with multiple approaches including bringing ambulatory clinical staff into the hospital setting, as well as adjusting the care model for nursing and working with human resources on incentives to maintain staff. Parkland has also worked to hire traveler nurses to supplement current staff.

"These are just a few things we have done. We are also trying to be as transparent with staff as possible on the daily struggles with staffing and are letting them know everything we are doing to support them," Dr. Richardson said in a statement shared with Becker's.

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