Hospitals are looking for new recruits to fill vacancies

The University of Mississippi Medical Center meets aspiring nurses and other residents who want to work in the healthcare field to help with hospital staffing shortages. In years past, the center had about 30 vacancies for nurses at any given time, but the pandemic has exacerbated worker burnout. There are now about 200 vacancies, says Adrienne Murray, who helps recruit nurses at UMMC.

“The operating room is extremely difficult to hire, there just aren’t a lot of experienced nurses,” says Murray. “We hire registered nurses in almost all of our fields, but the challenge we face is having enough preceptors to train them.

At the height of the pandemic, hospital officials sounded the alarm over staffing shortages. They said there were enough beds to care for the patients, but not enough nurses to care for them.

Abigail May is currently a student at UMMC and will be graduating at the end of the month. She is one of dozens who have interviewed and accepted a position as a nurse in the intensive care unit.

May says: “There is definitely a shortage of nurses, but one thing I love about UMMC is that we all work as a team. No one is left behind. So I’m nervous and excited to be able to make a difference in the lives of my patients. I’m a little nervous because I’m brand new to getting started in ICU, but I know my fellow nurses, my respiratory therapist, and my doctors will all be supporting me and making sure I don’t stumble along the way.

Experts say there are accelerated training programs for those who have degrees in other fields but would like to change careers to nursing.

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