Patient Safety | 08.31.21
Doctors Training Alongside Nurses to Help With Staff Shortages
Many Louisiana hospitals are dealing with critical staffing shortages as the delta variant continues to spread. Several health systems have responded by coming up with creative ways to alleviate some of the stress on frontline workers. Dr. David Houghton, vice chair of Ochsner Medical Center's department of neurology, has started training alongside nurses in non-COVID-19 intensive care units. He and other physicians, who work primarily in outpatient settings, were asked by hospital administrators to volunteer earlier this month. "The design of this project is to have physicians at the shoulder of the nurses on these non-COVID units, recognizing that the time may come soon where some of those nurses have to leave those units, go into the COVID units and now you have other providers that are better qualified," he said. Louisiana Children's Medical Center in New Orleans is also making adjustments by canceling or postponing many elective surgeries. Dr. Jeffrey Elder explained, "That allows us to free up staff that maybe would be in the operating room or even in some of our clinics, which we're now kind of shifting some of that to virtual care to bring additional people into the hospital to help with that staffing."