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1,000 Traveling Nurses Headed To North Texas Hospitals In Response To Staffing Shortages

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - As the COVID-19 omicron variant surges in North Texas, hospitals are struggling with adequate staffing for patients.

The good news is reinforcements are on the the way.

The state now sending 1,000 traveling nurses to North Texas.

"We've just seen a lot of COVID patients coming into the ER at a very rapid rate," bedside nurse Mary Vitullo said.

Vitullo isn't comfortable sharing what hospital she works for, but she hears what other local bedside nurses are experiencing as the Director of the Texas Nurses Association.

"It definitely creates a lot of stress and anxiety, mainly because a lot of nurses are facing burnout and it's not just nurses. It's the entire healthcare continuum," she said. "We've been dealing with this pandemic together as one team."

Since Monday, Jan. 3, both COVID-19 hospitalizations and adult ICU patients have increased by almost 5% in DFW's trauma service area.

The vast majority of patients are unvaccinated.

"Now we've got many of our own staff out," DFW Hospital Council President and CEO Stephen Love said." I talk to the hospitals and I can tell you easily 10 to 15% of the staff are out on a daily basis for medical reasons."

"That's (the influx of nurses) going to help significantly," Vitullo said. "We can provide more seamless care."

However, she says she does anticipate some initial obstacles that they'll need to work through when it comes to day to day operations.

"If you come in as a travel nurse you're only there for a very short period of time. You might not be as familiar with those and they'll have to learn at a more rapid pace to be able to provide the care," she said.

The traveling nurses should arrive over the next few days to help with the staffing shortages.

Almost all of them coming from out of state.

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