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Florida Hospitals Struggle To Retain Enough Nurses During COVID Surge

Photo: Patty Brito
Photo: Patty Brito

Hospitals around the country need more nurses. Offers of higher wages are luring nurses out of Florida. The state has a growing number of hospitals reporting staff shortages, according to a report last week from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. During the pandemic, nurses in Florida are constantly getting tempted to move. "With offers for double, sometimes triple your salary." Betsy Marville worries they won’t come back. She’s the nurse organizer with the 1199 SEIU Florida and is based in Palm Beach County. She’s 63 and plans to retire soon. Yet she’s in demand. One job offered 70 dollars an hour for 13 weeks. "They are limited, but since the offers keep coming, you can stay pretty well employed." Memorial Healthcare System in Broward County says these nursing agencies make it hard to compete. "We have a staffing crisis." Leah Carpenter is the chief operating officer at Memorial. She told WLRN’s Sundial that Memorial is paying bonuses and incentives to keep their employees. "We are creating patient spaces in auditoriums. We're creating spaces in our classrooms. I need the staff to take care of them. Florida has the most per capita hospitalizations for COVID-19 in the country, and spiking COVID-19 numbers."