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Hospitals desperate to hire nurses

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(KTTC) -- Mary Turner has been working nightshifts in COVID ICU's for months on end. She says hospitals are desperate to hire new nurses, and that many nurses are also switching jobs due to being rundown from work in the ICU.

"So, you've got nurses that have been doing this at a really steady difficult pace for over 20 months. And they're like, we can't do it anymore," said Turner, the president of the Minnesota Nurses Association. "The hospitals are having to do sign-on bonuses. And pretty significant, I mean I'm talking like, I've heard anywhere from $5,000-6,000. We've got nurses staying 16-hour shifts day after day. Everybody picking up 'till they're totally burnt out. And then, one party after another for people that are leaving onto other things, and that is very demoralizing."

Another obstacle that could impact staffing are the impending vaccine mandates taking effect in the coming weeks.

"It's always just another excuse, another reason. So, we've identified those employees that are not going to budge, and we're starting to figure out ways to replace those positions," said Marc Halpert, the chief operating officer of Monarch.

Halpert, who is in charge of dozens of nursing homes across Minnesota, says many of these threats may just be smoke in mirrors.

"I've heard many times where people talked about getting together, talked about fighting, talked about making a stand, and it kind of fizzles out overnight," said Halpert.

Both agreed that these mandates put healthcare systems and other employers in tough situations.

"It's a challenging time for our employers because they are all faced with this crisis of trying to staff their units. And then to have these mandates, it's above my paygrade to make that decision," said Turner.

"It's not my decision, this is what's being told. And we're just following what's being mandated," said Halpert. "We're waiting for further guidance, and we'll follow whatever that guidance is."

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Noah Caplan

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