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The number of patients passing away "It's definitely taking a toll," says MVH chief nurse

Dayton 24/7 Now Photo

DAYTON, Ohio (WKEF) -- As COVID-19 cases continue to spike across the state, the shortage of nurses has alarmed many local hospitals.

Christie Gray, chief nursing officer for Miami Valley Hospital said part of the reason for the shortage of nurses is because many have left the career due to trauma experienced from the pandemic.

“I’ll share a story that just happened the other day and it was a nurse who was up on the Covid unit and she said she prayed the entire shift that her patient wouldn’t pass away on her shift. That’s what they’re doing,” said Gray. “They carry it home. They carry it in everyday wondering—‘what’s today going to be like?’

Both Premier and Kettering Health said they’re seeing a rise in patients in their emergency rooms.

“We’re used to sometimes patients passing away, but the number of patients passing away, it’s definitely taking a toll,” said Gray.

“It’s just really frustrating for them [nurses] to know the numbers are really starting to go back up again and they might have to go through what they went through a year ago,” said Jennifer Van Tilburgh Human Resources director for Mercy Health in Springfield, Ohio.

She added that nursing programs don’t have the volume of graduates they once did years ago.

“We have folks that have gone into these other fields, that’s left wholes in the beside,” said Van Tilburgh.

She added that Mercy Health is encouraging COVID-19 vaccinations for staff, but they’re not required.

However, the Dec. 1 deadline for mandated COVID-19 vaccinations for Premier Health staff is fast approaching, which could mean more shortages.

“We do have a concern of what impact that will be,” said Gray.

Kettering Health staff was not available for an interview, but did release the statement below.

“We are seeing an increase in patients overall in our emergency departments both COVID-19 and non-COVID related. If you believe you are facing an emergency situation due to COVID-19, we encourage you to seek treatment from an emergency center--especially if you're considered a high-risk patient. It's important for people to utilize the right level of care, so we encourage people to use the state's dashboard to find an appropriate COVID-19 testing location near them.”

“COVID-19 has impacted staff at hospitals across the state of Ohio and Kettering Health is no different. While the pandemic has posed challenges with staffing, we have been able to adapt plans and personnel to make sure we meet the needs of our community, and Kettering Health remains capable of treating all patients.”

To apply for nursing positions at Mercy Health, click here

To apply for nursing positions through Premier Health, click here.