Ohio Nurses Association declares ‘code red’ due to ongoing nursing shortage

The Ohio Nurses Association is sounding off “code red” due to the ongoing nursing shortage.

The shortage is at the point where the lack of nurses is impacting patient care.

Around 100 thousand registered nurses left the workforce across the country because of the pandemic, and thousands more are expected to within five years impacting hospitals in Ohio.

Nurses say they feel exhausted, stressed, and burned out.

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“Staff do not feel supported, emotionally or financially to continue to work in these deplorable conditions,” said Catherine Henderson, RN at OSU James Cancer Hospital.

This is leading many to take an early retirement.

“We were close to 80 full-time nursing staff and now we are roughly about 35,” Henderson said.

Hospitals are struggling to cut that gap.

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At Kettering Health, there are currently more than 350 registered nurse-listed openings throughout the Miami Valley. That drop in nurses can impact patient care.

“I’ve personally witnessed patients end up in ICU or their critical care areas because there weren’t enough nurses on the floor to take care of them,” said Kim Plants, RN at Ashtabula County Medical Center.

That is why the Ohio Nursing Association is launching a new campaign called “Code Red.”

“To address the patient care crisis in Ohio, we must first address safe staffing in all areas of care in our state,” said Rob Weitzel, RN, President of Ohio Nurses Association.

Code Red focuses on five points, safe staffing, working conditions, attracting and training bedside nurses, and dignity across the industry.

“Nurses are suffering and patients are suffering at the end of the day, every single time and unless we start to push and push this code red initiative, things are not going to change,” Weitzel said.

The association says they are pushing this campaign on lawmakers and employers. They are also planning to introduce a bill this summer to further protect nurses and therefore patients.

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