PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Help is on the way! Hundreds more nurses will soon be sent to Tampa Bay area hospitals as COVID-19 hospitalizations surge.
Local healthcare workers say the extra staff is much needed.
Records from the Florida Office of Emergency Management show 51 hospitals statewide have requested additional help from travel nurses. Hospitals have asked for a total of 2,412 nurses. Of that, 1,082 nurses have been deployed.
Governor Ron DeSantis says his team is working with various staffing agencies to fulfill the rest.
Amelia Russell, the Chief Nursing Officer at Largo Medical Center, says the extra help is much needed.
“Donning the PPE and taking care of our COVID population and being that emotional support for our patients at their bedside when they cannot have their loved one there is tiring and draining,” she explained.
Yet, Russell says there’s now a sense of relief as hundreds of traveling nurses step up to help.
“I heard someone yesterday describe it as unicorns falling out of the sky. We’re very very grateful,” she added.
In Tampa Bay, hospitals have now requested more than 1,100 travel nurses from the state. Pinellas County hospitals requested the second most nurses of anywhere in the state: 287. That compares to 278 requests in Pasco County, 253 in Manatee County, 246 in Hillsborough County and 41 requests in Polk County.
“We’ve been honoring requests and we continue to stand by to help more. It’s very very important,” Governor DeSantis said, during a press conference at a Melbourne hospital Thursday.
Dr. Kirk Voelker at Sarasota Memorial Hospital says his biggest concern is for the duration of how long this spike in COVID-19 cases could last.
“It’s a marathon and the staff is working hard very diligently putting in long hours extra shifts but there’s the concern for battle fatigue,” he explained.
Local hospitals say the extra nurses are not only needed to keep up with the surge in COVID-19 patients but also to fill in for hospital employees who test positive for COVID-19, are forced to quarantine or simply need a break.
Dr. Doug Ross at Advent Health in Tampa believes those breaks are crucial.
“This is an emotional time because it’s not just caring for sick people they’re also concerned about family and friends and others so there’s a lot of emotional overlays,” he elaborated.
Here’s the list, provided by the Florida Office of Emergency Management to ABC Action News, showing the number of hospitals that have requested travel nurses:
Broward County (274)
- Broward Health ‐ Broward Health Coral Springs (48)
- Broward Health ‐ Broward Health North (46)
- Broward Health ‐ Broward Imperial Point (25)
- Broward Health ‐ Broward Medical Center (54)
- Plantation General Hospital (22)
- University Hospital Medical Center (19)
- Westside Regional Medical Center (24)
- Northwest Regional Medical Center (36)
Hendry County (6)
- Hendry Regional Medical Center (6)
Hillsborough County (246)
- Advent Health Carrollwood (29)
- Advent Health Tampa HCA (62)
- Memorial Hospital of Tampa – HCA West (21)
- Brandon Regional Hospital – HCA West (63)
- South Bay – HCA West (36)
- Tampa General (35)
Jacksonville, FL (15)
- Jacksonville Marianna Hospital (15)
Manatee County (253)
- Blake Medical Center ‐ Doctors Hospital of Sarasota (93)
- Bradenton/Centerstone of Florida (93)
- Lakewood Ranch Medical Center (33)
- Manatee Memorial Hospital (34)
Miami-Dade County (729)
- Jackson Memorial (150)
- Mt Sinai Medical Center (101)
- Aventura Hospital (36)
- Baptist Hospitals (334)
- Kendall Regional (42)
- Mercy Hospital (66)
Okeechobee County (26)
- Raulerson Hospital – HCA East (26)
Palm Beach County (142)
- JFK Medical Center (63)
- JFK North Medical Center (24)
- Wellington Regional Medical Center – UHS (19)
- Palms West Hospital (36)
Pasco County (278)
- AdventHealth Connerton (9)
- AdventHealth Dade City (21)
- AdventHealth Wesley Chapel (57)
- AdventHealth Zephyrhills (31)
- Citrus Memorial Hospital (37)
- Medical Center of Trinity (39)
- Oak Hill Hospital (34)
- Regional Medical Center of Bayonet Point (50)
Pinellas County (287)
- BayCare ‐ Mease Countryside (20)
- BayCare ‐ Mease Dunedin (6)
- BayCare ‐ Morton Plant (33)
- BayCare ‐ St. Anthony's (27)
- Largo Medical Center (42)
- Northside Hospital (42)
- Palm of Pasadena Hospital (43)
- St. Petersburg General Hospital (43)
- Advent Health North Pinellas (31)
Polk County (41)
- Winter Haven Hospital (41)
St. Lucie County (100)
- Lawnwood Regional (100)
Volusia County (15)
- Daytona Beach Halifax Hospital (15)