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Virginia nurses speak out on need for mental health resources due to staffing issues

The Virginia Nurses Association says nurses across the Commonwealth are experiencing burnout

Local hospitals are being overwhelmed with COVID patients | What nurses say could happen if cases continue to rise.
Local hospitals are being overwhelmed with COVID patients | What nurses say could happen if cases continue to rise.

ROANOKE, Va – Dozens of nurses from across Virginia are coming together urging the community to help prevent local hospitals from being overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.

“These people are way more sick and they are younger, and I just the past few weeks just Monday I was taking care of 40 and 50-year-olds that are dying,” Critical Care Nurse Aliese Harrison said.

Tuesday members of the Virginia Nurses Association came together to speak out about current conditions at local hospitals.

Most seeing are more and more patients, and not having the staff to treat them.

“What we’re seeing in the E.D. are long, long wait times, a lot of aggravated patients aggravated family members and friends but the big thing with that is, we’ve got so many ambulances coming in, we don’t have rooms for them,” Relief Charge Nurse Ashley Fogleman said.

Not only are patients experiencing long wait times, but the lack of staffing is also taking a toll on the mental health of those on the frontlines of the pandemic.

The increased workload is leaving them little to no room to mentally recover.

“Nurses are mentally depleted, exhausted and traumatized and experiencing pandemic related PTSD, with little or no time to seek mental health services,” VNA President Linda Shepherd said.

Not all hospitals are experiencing the same burden, some healthcare providers say conditions are worse in southwestern Virginia because of lower vaccination rates.

“Nurses feel disrespected by communities who initially hailed them as heroes but now refused to follow the simple steps that would ease their burden,” Shepherd said.

All the healthcare providers encouraged American’s to get the vaccine and wear a mask to help prevent the spread of disease.


About the Author:

Annie Schroeder joined the 10 News team as a reporter in June 2020 and is no stranger to Southwest Virginia.