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South Carolina seeing increased need for nurses amid shortage

Updated: Dec. 11, 2020 at 9:39 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - South Carolina is seeing an increased need for nurses amid a shortage that has been going on for years.

The state is on track to have one of the most severe nurse shortages in the country by 2030. South Carolina is estimated to lack roughly 10,000 nurses to meet the growing demand, according to a 2018 report analyzed by RegisteredNursing.org.

Lara Hewitt, the Vice President of Workforce & Partner Engagement for the South Carolina Hospital Association, says the predominant need right now is in nurses who can work in in-patient units.

She says the pandemic has exacerbated the need for nurses, because of the volume of patients.

“As we’re in a pandemic, we have more patients; our hospitals are fuller than they have been before and it’s not just from coronavirus patients though it’s general critical care patients,” Hewitt said. “Also, most if not every single hospital has some percentage of their workforce that is out due to exposure or illness from a community spread of the coronavirus to their employees.”

In the Lowcountry, doctors say there are more than 800 job openings for registered nurses. Hospitals have also been working proactively to recruit and retain staff.

Trident Medical Center has recently finished a campaign to hire 125 nurses, and they say they are close to meeting their goal.

“It was intense that we were trying to hire nurses, and we do pay sign-on bonuses and we do have a nurse residency program that we use to bring in new grads with, those types of things,” Trident Chief Nursing Officer Mary Kaye Halterman said. “I’s important we understand that we need these resources up front and while it seems like a lot, there is so much competition for each and every one of these nurses.”

Halterman says although there is a nurse shortage, it is a career where they rise to the occasion and don’t let that deter them from providing the care they give.

“Even though it presents us with exhaustion and emotional chaos within our own personal psyche, it also validates to us that we are in the correct job, this is why we do this every day. If we don’t do it, who is,” she said.

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