JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. — Ballad Health says it needs to hire 350 nurses to handle the increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations and routine medical care.
“Simply put, there are no longer enough nurses to fill the need that we have,” Ballad Health Chief Nursing Officer Lisa Smithgall told WCYB.
Ballad Health is a healthcare network of hospitals and physicians in northeast Tennessee, along with parts of North Carolina and Virginia.
More than 900 new patients were hospitalized in the last two months, and a national nursing shortage is now worsened by nurses coming down with the virus themselves. Two hundred Ballad employees are currently out.
The company has already halted elective surgeries that require an overnight stay in order to shift staffing.
Hospitalizations are on track to nearly double by the end of the year, Ballad said.
“We’re out here on the frontlines everyday watching people die from it, watching it break our hearts,” critical care nurse Allie Williams told WCYB.