Staffing problems in some health facilities could worsen if the need for vaccines for traveling nurses continues.
That’s according to the Dakota Travel Nurses recruiting agency, one of the leading providers of nurses to North Dakota facilities.
As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the state, the demand for healthcare workers – especially nurses – is also increasing, but meeting that demand is proving difficult due to demands in vaccines.
This is because some nurses like Sadie Haws are unwilling to take the COVID vaccine.
âI don’t think it’s fair. I don’t think they listen to nurses. It is very interesting that many of us including myself in health care but especially in long term care many of us are very hesitant about the vaccine and that should say something â , said Haws.
Haws adds that 30 to 40 percent of the traveling nurse population will not take the jab.
Dakota Travel Nurses CEO fears nurse shortages and burnouts will only get worse.
âWe have communicated a lot with our nursing homes across the state and some have made it very clear that if this vaccine mandate is met, they will have to shut down because that will not be the case – if we are going to lose 30 to 40% of our staff and they’re going to lose 30-40% of their staff, it’s not a good situation for residents and to get the care they need, âsaid Jamie Fleck.
Haws, who is based in Mandan, has been active for 12 years now. She is concerned that this could have dire consequences for patients and residents who need their services to live comfortably.
âI am more worried about the residents. We are already in shortage of nurses and therefore for the people who have the power not to listen to our hesitation and not to accept our exemption, it is the residents and the patients who will suffer and that is what concerns me on the more, âHaws said. .
Right now, nurses are allowed to refuse the vaccine for religious or medical reasons, and the president of the North Dakota Nurses Association says that’s enough flexibility.
âIt’s no secret that we have had a long shortage of nurses in our state. Will this add to the problem? It’s okay, we know. However, I think that’s one of those things we’re going to have to work on. We will need to bring in more travelers and think outside the box to get through this crisis, âsaid Tessa Johnson, president of the North Dakota Nurses Association.
The state’s major health and long-term care facilities require staff to receive COVID vaccines as another layer of protection despite using PPE.
Data from the Department of Health shows there are around 113 positive cases of COVID between staff and residents of long-term care facilities.
Nurses who refuse the vaccine want facilities to rethink vaccine requirements not just for nurses, but for their residents who need them.
All three we spoke with said they hope the state will soon find a solution that will work for everyone.