Area Hospitals Still Feel Katrina’s Effects

It’s been 17 months since hurricane Katrina ripped through the Mississippi Gulf Coast area causing severe damage costing billions of dollars in new construction. Lives were forever changed in the wake of Katrina’s devastating aftermath and even now area businesses, hospitals, and its people are still trying to recover.

Many of the hospitals still have yet to fully recover. Singing River Hospital is having workforce issues in the form of a nursing shortage. Singing River hospital along with Ocean Springs Hospital lost nearly 200 nurses after Katrina. Since then both hospitals have managed to replace most of lost nursing staff, however there are still 45 outstanding positions that haven’t been replaced. “We are managing the shortage by offering greater incentives for our nurses and relying on their willingness to pull us through this situation,” noted Chris Anderson, System CEO. “The hospital is trying to combat the problem by expanding the recruiting area and being more creative in seeking out qualified candidates.”

The hospital has partnered with the University of Southern Mississippi to help nurses with associate’s degrees complete their college course load to obtain higher degrees. Many nurses are in the process of completing theRN to BSN program and through the partnering effort are additionally being encouraged to pursue their Masters in Nursing degree. The classes, Anderson said, allow the hospital to retain nurses who are hoping to gain more medical education, who might otherwise leave the field for that training.

The good news is that the hospital is bouncing back from the storm, and was recognized nationally for that effort. The hospital was named one of Sulucient’s Top 100 Performance Improvement Leaders for the second year in a row.

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