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MNA President, Dr. Charlotte Wood responds to the Nursing Shortage on WBALTV11 News

Posted 11 months ago

Concern growing in Maryland about 'critical shortage' of nurses

Click here to watch the interview on WBALTV11

There's growing concern about a nursing shortage in the Baltimore region as hospitals are reportedly struggling to meet patients' needs.

One nursing school dean said the shortage is the worst she has seen in the past 40 years.

"We are moving towards a critical nursing shortage within the state of Maryland," said Dr. Charlotte Wood, president of the Maryland Nurses Association.

Nurses are stretched thin, stressed out and spent. According to the Maryland Nurses Association, before COVID-19, 17% of nurses surveyed considered leaving the profession. Today, that number is 33%.

Experts cite nurses who are retiring in large numbers after COVID-19 burned them out, or they are leaving for better-paying jobs, like travel nursing.

"They are paying them an astronomical additional amount of money of what they could make in the hospital settings," Wood said.

The Maryland Hospital Association and some of the largest medical facilities declined to comment on how they are handling the shortage.

"Sometimes, when the numbers get really squeaky tight, yes, that impacts patient care," Wood said. "Some of them are closing beds."

Dr. Kathy Wisser, dean of the Notre Dame of Maryland University's School of Nursing, sent a statement to 11 News, saying: "In more than 40 years working as a nurse and nurse educator, this shortage is the worst that I have seen ... A shortage of nurse educators and practicum sites for nursing students has made it difficult to address the historic demand for nurses."

But Wood and other experts said they are optimistic the trend will not last much longer because of "the fact that people are starting to realize the value of nurses, that there are a number of individuals coming forth who want to be able to participate in the nursing profession and there are nursing programs that actually have waiting lists."

Coppin State University and Notre Dame of Maryland University are now offering programs that allow students to graduate in 15 months rather than two years.