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Combating the Nursing Shortage in Addiction

The United States is in the midst of a critical nursing shortage – it is estimated that 1.2 million new registered nurses will be needed by 2030. Spectrum Health Systems, like many other addiction treatment providers, has experienced an increase in patients and a decrease in providers available. This shortage has been around for a while now, but the COVID-19 pandemic has brought it to the forefront, affecting many treatment and service organizations actively seeking nurses and clinicians to join their teams.

Why Is There a Nursing Shortage?

The current nursing shortage is driven by many factors. Healthline.com states that fear of COVID impacted a number of employees who otherwise hadn’t planned to leave their job. In addition, recent healthcare legislation, policies and procedures implemented in response to the pandemic drove many healthcare organizations to furlough employees, leading some to opt into early retirement, switch to new roles with virtual/remote opportunities or leave the profession entirely.

These factors have put a heavy strain on employees still providing care to patients. As vaccines rolled out and demand for treatment increased, less nurses were available to accommodate the need for services, leading many to experience burnout, states the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences.

Combating the Shortage

Addiction treatment centers around the country have had to adjust certain protocols in a timely and efficient manner in order to continue providing quality patient care. Our Nurse Practitioner, Megan Gajewski, shares how Spectrum has adapted.

“Medication dispensing cannot be tweaked, as that always remains our top priority. We have adjusted our patient admissions to accommodate these requirements and we sometimes limit the number of patients we’re able to see,” shared Megan.

Megan has been with Spectrum for over 14 years and currently works with clients one-on-one. She has seen the toll this shortage can have on patients, but amid the change she shares that, “management has always been supportive in making the necessary changes to assist our staff and avoid burnout.”

To prevent or limit burnout amongst staff, Spectrum meets as a team, has daily check-ins and listens carefully to how each staff member is doing. Megan and her team continue to make changes to accommodate the shortage, as some protocols that worked well in the past may need to be adjusted accordingly. Megan and her team are also actively reaching out to local colleges to recruit new graduates to help fill open roles.

Throughout the pandemic, Spectrum has continued to treat patients in the safest manner possible. Our top priority will always be our clients’ and our employees’ well-being. We are currently hiring aspiring healthcare professionals, nurses, and clinicians in our inpatient and outpatient divisions. Visit our website for more information and check out our current openings today.

For more information about working at Spectrum, visit our careers page on our website.

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