Maryland facing major staff shortages

The Maryland Hospital Association said the state is experiencing "the most critical staff shortage in recent memory," Herald-Mail Media reported Aug. 15. 

The association projects that by 2035, the state will be in need of 13,800 registered nurses and 9,200 licensed practical nurses. Currently, 1 in 4 nursing positions are vacant across Maryland hospitals.

Many hospitals are also short on respiratory therapists, laboratory technicians and several other positions. 

Maryland's 2022 "Health Care Workforce Report" indicates staffing issues will worsen before they improve. 

To curb the issue, hospitals across the state have hired travel nurses, raised wages, and offered other perks to retain and hire staff. 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average salary for an RN in Maryland is $82,660. But money isn't the solution, according to Scott Rose, director of inpatient services and cardiopulmonary services at Berlin, Md.-based Atlantic General Hospital. 

"There are only so many nurses to go around," Mr. Rose told Herald-Mail Media. "They can only pick up so many shifts."

The aforementioned workforce report mentions four areas of improvement in terms of staffing along with a specific suggestion in each area, including easier access to healthcare education, flexible scheduling, violence prevention against staff, offering child care for staff, new care models and widening the employment pipeline.

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