Wichita hospitals at critical capacity, need more workers

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Sedgwick County Health Department says its hospitals are at critical capacity and need more staff to keep up.

Ascension Via Christi says they are aggressively recruiting to hire and retain healthcare talent from local colleges.

The pandemic and staffing shortage have had a major impact on hospital resources across the state.

“Is this a profession that needs folks? Yes, it is. Do we have enough folks to meet the need? I would say no,” said Dr. Jim Long, the chair of the division of business at Friends University. “We could use more. We could use more going forward. I don’t think we could have enough.”

Dr. Long says he has been studying the health care shortage for twenty years and that the problem is not getting any better.

“Thankfully, because of advances in medicine, people are living longer, and that means that they require more care through healthcare services,” said Dr. Long.

“As long as I have been a nurse, we have had openings,” says Anita Mills, the regional director for clinical professional development at Ascension Via Christi.

She says they are constantly recruiting more nurses at the hospital and are working on employee retention.

“Providing an avenue for people to talk, an avenue for associates just to talk in a safe environment, an environment where they care really share their feelings and concerns,” said Mills.

She says the number of students choosing to enter the medical field gives hope to the healthcare shortage.

“They need us obviously because they need the opportunity for them to have clinical, but we need them just as much,” said Mills.

“We are blessed to be in good hands as we get older with healthcare,” said Dr. Long.

Dr. Long says he is surprised at the number of students entering the healthcare field during the pandemic. He has seen an increase in enrollment in the field.

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