It's 'flat out hard': California hospital leader addresses staffing challenges after travel nurses' departure 

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After four travel nurses quit their assignments at Providence St. Joseph Hospital just one day after starting, a staff leader at the Eureka, Calif.-based hospital claimed they developed a training program to acclimate the nurses to the new EHR system. 

In a Sept. 11 op-ed in Eureka Times-Standard, Karis Hassler, an intensive care unit nurse manager at Providence St. Joseph, said the hospital provided the nurses with training for the EHR system; however, the nurses still quit one day after their assignments began. 

"I am intimately aware of the challenges in hospital staffing we share with hospitals across the country," Ms. Hassler wrote. "It is flat out hard to find ICU nurses, respiratory therapists, imaging techs and other key clinical caregivers right now."

Ms. Hassler said the hospital is often left competing with bigger hospitals that have more resources for traveling healthcare workers because of the high demand for healthcare workers across the country. 

For its recent hires, Providence submitted staffing requests to government entities, including the Medical and Health Operational Area Coordinator, for help finding travel workers. The hospital brought on six ICU nurses, four of whom quit and claimed they did not receive access to the hospital's electronic charting system, a California Nurses Association spokesperson told the Times Standard on Sept. 4. 

In the op-ed, Ms. Hassler wrote that even before the first shift started, one of the travel nurses left for a family emergency. The following three nurses finished their first shift, after which hospital leaders discovered they needed more training.  

"When the remaining caregivers finished their first shift and were noticeably in need of assistance to acclimate, our amazing staff immediately mobilized and developed an 'at the elbow,' one-on-one training plan to support these newcomers to our hospital," Ms. Hassler wrote. "Many of our local caregivers who volunteered for this role were coming off 12 hour shifts. But in the face of a difficult challenge, they rose to the occasion, demonstrating unbelievable resolve and resiliency to ensure our patients would continue to receive the highest quality of care." 

Despite the training plan to help the travel nurses, the group ultimately chose to leave their assignments at Providence, Ms. Hassler wrote, adding an "important note" that the hospital has "many wonderful, dedicated travelers" working within its programs, and local leaders have advocated for the continued use of travel nurses at the hospital's ICU, emergency department and other programs.


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