Beaumont officials very worried about staff as Michigan hospitals fill up with COVID patients

Chief nursing officer says nurses have already started leaving profession

Beaumont Health

Beaumont Health officials are very worried about their staff members leaving or becoming exhausted as Michigan hospitals fill up with COVID-19 patients.

54 takeaways: Beaumont officials on Michigan restrictions, dire hospital situation, COVID stats

Chief nursing officer Susan Grant said Thursday (April 15) that Beaumont hospitals are currently at 90-95% capacity.

Dr. Nick Gilpin, the medical director of infection prevention, said the COVID-19 situation is “just like a runaway train right now.”

But Grant and Gilpin aren’t worried about space or supplies. Their main concern is for hospital workers.

If we continue to see COVID numbers rise, we’ll have to make some accommodations, open up some additional beds, but again, the challenge here and the theme of the day is: Where are we going to get that staff from?” Gilpin said.

Grant said after having done this for over a year now, hospital workers are tired and worn out both physically and mentally.

“At this time last year, none of us would have imagined, going through that extraordinarily difficult time, that we would be here again, same time this year,” Grant said. “That we would be working and seeing so many patients who are infected with the coronavirus. Hundreds and hundreds of them coming through our emergency rooms.

“That emotional exhaustion has come from experiencing and being present for, observing the enormous toll that this virus has taken on patients, on families, on their own personal lives. They have seen a lot of death over the last year, and now, they are experiencing and seeing younger people who are in our ICU beds, who are very, very sick, who are in the emergency rooms and our hospital beds who are very sick, and some who are dying.”

Grant said it’s been particularly hard for her nurses to see so many younger people coming into hospitals with COVID-19.

“It literally is an all hands on deck, and people are willing to step up and do what they need to do, but we need help,” Grant said.

Beaumont has reached out to external agencies to bring in supplemental staff to help with vaccine clinics and to deal with the surge of cases. Beaumont is also in contact with other health systems in terms of possible transfers when hospitals fill up.

Grant was asked if she’s worried about nurses leaving the profession because of the demands being put on them by the pandemic. She said some nurses who might have been considering retirement in the upcoming years have even retired early because of the strains of caring for COVID-19 patients.

“We worry about (losing nurses) every day, and we are seeing it already, unfortunately,” she answered. “It’s very concerning.”

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Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.