Healthcare Industry

With hospitalizations rising, health care workers leaving industry at alarming rate

Health care workers are leaving the industry at an alarming rate in New Hampshire as they find good-paying work outside of hospitals.Hospital officials said health workers are getting burned out as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. “We certainly are seeing a pretty dramatic increase in COVID hospitalizations,” said Steve Ahnen, president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association.Ahnen said waves of health care workers are quitting, taking jobs out of the industry and leaving hospitals short-staffed.”After a year of the pandemic, it was just more than they could do,” he said. “Again, it’s why we need to do everything we can to support our health care heroes to make sure they have everything they need to continue to rush in to serve their patients.”They are nurses and the workers who change hospital beds and sterilize rooms, behind-the-scenes critical staffers who keep a hospital operating.”Wages have been raised dramatically for the service sector,” said Sheila Woolley, chief nursing officer at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital. “So, folks who work environmental services in the hospital, a very, very challenging position, can go to Arby’s and make a heck of a lot more money.”There are fewer ICU patients in New Hampshire during this latest COVID-19 surge, but hospitalizations encompass every age group this time, not just the elderly. State data and hospital officials said more than 90% of hospitalizations are in unvaccinated people, while breakthrough infections make up about 10% of hospitalizations.Hospitals are also seeing a surge in another group: people with other medical issues who deferred care because of the pandemic and are now really sick.”We certainly thought we were going to see some normalcy return, but these past three months, it’s almost been as busy as it was a year ago,” Woolley said.Waits at emergency departments are exceptionally long right now. Medical officials are urging people to not go to an emergency department unless it’s a true emergency. Instead, consider going to urgent care or a primary care physician.

Health care workers are leaving the industry at an alarming rate in New Hampshire as they find good-paying work outside of hospitals.

Hospital officials said health workers are getting burned out as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

“We certainly are seeing a pretty dramatic increase in COVID hospitalizations,” said Steve Ahnen, president of the New Hampshire Hospital Association.

Ahnen said waves of health care workers are quitting, taking jobs out of the industry and leaving hospitals short-staffed.

“After a year of the pandemic, it was just more than they could do,” he said. “Again, it’s why we need to do everything we can to support our health care heroes to make sure they have everything they need to continue to rush in to serve their patients.”

They are nurses and the workers who change hospital beds and sterilize rooms, behind-the-scenes critical staffers who keep a hospital operating.

“Wages have been raised dramatically for the service sector,” said Sheila Woolley, chief nursing officer at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital. “So, folks who work environmental services in the hospital, a very, very challenging position, can go to Arby’s and make a heck of a lot more money.”

There are fewer ICU patients in New Hampshire during this latest COVID-19 surge, but hospitalizations encompass every age group this time, not just the elderly. State data and hospital officials said more than 90% of hospitalizations are in unvaccinated people, while breakthrough infections make up about 10% of hospitalizations.

Hospitals are also seeing a surge in another group: people with other medical issues who deferred care because of the pandemic and are now really sick.

“We certainly thought we were going to see some normalcy return, but these past three months, it’s almost been as busy as it was a year ago,” Woolley said.

Waits at emergency departments are exceptionally long right now. Medical officials are urging people to not go to an emergency department unless it’s a true emergency. Instead, consider going to urgent care or a primary care physician.