'We’re losing overworked nurses': Washington nurses unions say staff shortages could lead to health care collapse


Washington hospi­tals are facing a severe shortage of health care workers and a higher patient capacity amid the fifth wave of COVID-19 spurred on by the Delta variant.

Associ­a­tions repre­senting about 71,000 Washington nurses and health­care worker, including the Washington State Nurses Associ­a­tion, SEIU Health­care 1199NW, and UFCW 21 are asking hospi­tals to help reduce the shortage by offering an adequate salary to current staff, filling depart­ments that are under­staffed to help make sure patients have safe access to care. 

WSNA Cabinet Chair and ICU nurse at Astria Toppenish Hospital, Julia Barcott, said nurses became overwhelmed after they were the main respon­ders when the coron­avirus pandemic first started and after the rise of Delta variant with hospi­tals overflowing.

But nurses and other front­line workers are people, too. We’re losing overworked nurses to overwhelming burnout, the distress of working short-staffed, better-paying traveler nurse jobs and even for signing bonuses of up to $20,000 to move to a different hospital,” Barcott said. We’re worried for our patients and the impact of the staffing crisis on the care they receive.”

WSNA said in a press release the shortage of health workers is a public health crisis that needs to be addressed immedi­ately or the Washington heath care will suffer an unprece­dented crisis.


KREM 2: 'We’re losing overworked nurses': Washington nurses unions say staff shortages could lead to health care collapse (9/16/21)