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Nevada has reached a critical point of shortage of nurses


LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The state of Nevada is nearing a public health crisis as the nurse shortage continues to worsen.

Diego Trujillo, President and CEO of Las Vegas Health Care, says we are short of about 5,000 nurses and are on the brink of emergency action.

Brian Paonessa has been a registered nurse here in the valley for about 7 and a half years. He says many nurses have a heavy workload right now, but he says that if this continues, the quality of patient care will decline.

“Nurse calls, we don’t have enough staff on the floors, you are moved to different floors depending on the ratio of nurses on a given day or night,” Paonessa said.

Paonessa says it’s been a problem for years, affecting not only health care in Southern Nevada but also his own mental health.

“You don’t know where you’re going, you don’t know what your patient load will look like and you’ll be exhausted if you’re already having a bad day or if you’re not mentally prepared, it’s going to be a tough 12 hours,” Paonessa said. .

The paoness is not alone, Diego Trujillo says thousands of nurses have left their jobs and turnover has not kept up with the growing demand for medical services.

“At the end of the day, when you have an emergency and want the best possible care, we need to make sure the medical staff is not overwhelmed,” Trujillo said.

Trujillo says if the shortage gets worse, we could face a state of emergency.

“We need a workforce flow that makes sense in the state of Nevada,” Trujillo said.

13 Action News asked the health workers union SEIU Local 1107, which represents health workers in the state, what is the biggest concern for hospitals in Southern Nevada right now. Grace Vergara-Mactal, Chief Executive Officer, sent us a statement, quoting in part:

“The pandemic has exposed the systemic problems of staff shortages… Some jobs rely on high staff-to-patient ratios during shortages rather than treating employees to stay.”

Brian says that if we continue like this, it won’t end well.

“When the ratio of patients to nurses is this high, you put your license at risk, but you also put your patients’ lives at risk, and that’s the scariest part,” Paonessa said.

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