ICUs continue to struggle as COVID cases rise

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As cases continue to rise across the country, hospitals and their ICUs are being barraged by COVID-19 yet again. Sara Reynolds is a nurse manager and has seen firsthand just how strenuous, both physically and mentally, working in the ICU can be. She joined us today to share her experience.

“It’s getting crazy again,” Reynolds said. “We just filled our last COVID ICU bed this morning.”

She said that Valleywise is preparing to expand the number of beds that they have in their ICUs simply in anticipation of an increase in cases. “But as of right now,” Reynolds said, “the place where we put our COVID ICU patients is full.”

She described the ICU scene as a complex one, with many different moving parts. There are doctors, nurses, runners for the nurses and more. Because of how taxing the ICU can be on staffing, the increase in COVID cases is cause for concern in that department.

“We just don’t have enough nurses,” Reynolds said.

When asked if she observes reported burnout at the hospital, the nurse manager said that she thinks just about everyone is feeling it to an extent.

“There are even some people I know who are trying to change careers and leave the bedside,” she said. “It’s tough. it really is tough.”

With that high of burnout rate, a shortage of labor is almost anticipated. Reynolds said that her hospital is short on good help and it’s grown to a national shortage.

Sara Reynolds, Nurse Manager of the ICUs and IDUs, Valleywise Health

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