Texarkana faces nursing shortage amid pandemic


TEXARKANA, Texas (KTAL/KMSS) – As the country faces a nationwide nursing shortage, medical professionals in Texarkana say it’s impacting the healthcare industry in the region.

Healthcare workers in the CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System say Texarkana is struggling to keep a large nursing team due to COVID-19.

Doctors say seasoned nurses are leaving the industry and the newly licensed could be hesitant to work.

Regardless, doctors say nursing is an important part of the healthcare industry, and it has been crucial throughout the pandemic.

“Nursing is important in the medical field because I think we really have the opportunity to coordinate the care. The nurse is really the center of the care model,” said Dr. Louise Thornell, VP chief Nursing Officer at CHRISTUS.

Thornell says CHRISTUS focuses on making its nursing programs more flexible and creates a work-life balance.

“One of the initiatives that our system is looking at is really to create what we call a mobile workforce. A mobility program.”

On the other hand, Dr. Thornell says there’s no need to worry. There is enough staff to manage patient care. The focus now is gaining and retaining new nurses before it becomes a long-term issue.

“We will meet each of the challenges as they present and know that we work together to meet that. To continue to have the caregivers that we have to meet the care.”

She says many nurses are reconsidering the nursing industry and what the job actually entails. However, she wants to encourage people, emphasizing that nursing is a good long-lasting career.

“It’s a great profession and I think if you have any inkling reach out to someone in the profession who can share with you what the rewards are as well as the challenges.”

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