Bay Area healthcare systems adding traveling nurses to relieve staff

During Thursday’s Emergency Policy meeting, Hillsborough’s head of emergency management said area hospitals are looking to add travel nurses to their staff.

“This week we’re working with Department of Health to submit resource requests to the state for hospital systems with personnel shortages,” Timothy Dudley said. 

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At least three hospital systems in the Tampa Bay area, AdventHealth, Baycare and HCA, are planning to bring travel nurses next week.

BayCare said over the last month, it’s brought in more than 200. HCA said it has more than 200 traveling nurses coming in. AdventHealth wouldn’t confirm how many, but said the nurses will arrive next week.

“We have 21 percent of the beds statewide that are available,” said Governor Ron DeSantis.

The governor gave a statewide outlook Friday of hospital capacity. We learned Thursday where Hillsborough County is on that scale.

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“Bed occupancy, it’s reported at 67 percent, this is below our 80 percent target or concern of level,” said Dr. Doug Holt, the head of the county’s health department.

ICU capacity in Hillsborough County is at 84%, which is above the red-zone of 80 percent.

“In discussing with the hospitals, they are able to add COVID beds, and they’re doing some staffing surge, and they’re working very hard to manage patient flow, to maintain these numbers,” Holt said.
Some hospital systems are hoping an influx of fresh staff next week, could help do just that.

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