Hospital Staffing Shortages Nationwide - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Hospital Staffing Shortages Nationwide

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There's a growing shortage of doctors all across the country, and QC hospitals are reporting a growing need for nurses, specialists and technicians. At Genesis hospitals, there are 119 openings for nursing positions. Recruiters there say it's usually this high, and it's not just nurses but other positions too. 

Recruiters say growing demand is part of the problem; Genesis is seeing 30 percent more patients through their doors in the last year. That plus not enough students are graduating with the skills needed. "There's a shortage of most technical positions within the industry," Genesis Director of Recruitment Matt McCallum says. 

Neurosurgeons and technicians like those who do ultrasounds and mammograms are starting to become few and far between. 

"You just don't have that many schools that are pushing these people out," McCallum says.

This could mean more difficulty for patients getting in to see a hospital specialist. But hospitals are working to fill empty spots faster, and forming partnerships with neighboring hospitals to get patients the care they need. 

"We don't necessarily have to offer every single service, but an affiliated hospital would be able to," McCallum says. 

With growing numbers of patients and the Affordable Care Act on the horizon, the need for staff is only expected to go up.  

"We're a little nervous because with the Affordable Care Act there will be probably lots of folks who've delayed care or haven't had access to it who will start to come in," Dr. William Langley says, "So what is a close call in keeping up right now could turn into a real shortage as we get more people coming in as we should."

Projections show the number of patients could increase by another ten percent in the next year.  

Hospitals have already started preparing. 

"Are we staffed adequately now and if not let's start to add capacity," Dr. Langley says. 

But it could take some time for staff to keep up with growing demands. 

"It's not so much we can't meet the demand, we can't meet it in the time frame we want," McCallum says.