Governor Gavin Newsom sent out an urgent tweet with a desperate plea Friday.
With ICU beds disappearing in the state, so are medical professionals. There is a critical nursing and nursing assistant shortage taking place during this pandemic and to get some of them back to work, he is willing to use the state’s money to make it happen.
He stated that the ICU capacity statewide is less than 10%, on top of that he says staffing remains the number one issue. A critical nursing shortage is a fact in California and the COVID-19 crisis is making it worse.
“We’re so understaffed the nurses are burnt out they’re fatigue and the acuity of the patients are much higher and with the pandemic it’s made a bad situation worse,” said Genevieve Dace, director of the Nursing Program at the College of Alameda.
She says with hospitals at, or nearing capacity in the Bay Area, the pandemic is creating unprecedented challenges for nurses.
“Nurses are working 30 to 40 days in a row to try and help people basically,” said Dace.
The governor is looking for help too. The second part of his tweet put out a call for medical professionals to come back during this crisis. He says the state will pay for time and fees to renew licenses.
The College of Alameda is offering help as well. It is offering a certified nursing assistant program. The tuition is low and students take courses for no credit. The payoff is training that will help them get the job.
“There are about 5,000 jobs a year that can not be filled a year because there aren’t enough certified nursing assistants. That's one of the reasons why we started the program,” said Ava Jennings.
Nurses on the front line need nursing assistants now more than ever as health care workers scramble to save lives during this COVID-19 crisis.