Hospitals across Washington state have been dealing with staff shortages, and healthcare unions say the demands of COVID-19 have brought nurses and other workers to the breaking point. Many have already walked away.
Shelly Pollock-Mead is tired.
As a registered nurse who works in St. Joseph Medical Center’s emergency department, Mead has watched her hospital fill up with patients suffering from COVID-19. She has put in long hours doing everything she can to help them.
“You stretch yourself thin. But you’ll see people waiting in our waiting room, three, six, seven hours,” Pollock-Mead said.
It’s not just about more patients, it’s fewer nurses.
“Our staffing crisis has been a problem before COVID, and then it’s just compounded with COVID,” Pollock-Mead said. “We became nurses because we want to care for patients, that’s what we want. We want to make your day better, we want to help you and make you feel better, and we don’t have enough people to do that right now.”