- Associated Press - Sunday, April 10, 2016

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) - A Grand Island hospital sometimes has to turn patients away because it doesn’t have enough nurses available to care for them.

The Grand Island Independent reports (https://bit.ly/1N2z26s ) CHI Health St. Francis occasionally runs into problems if several nurses are out sick or on maternity leave at the same time.

The hospital works to maintain adequate nursing staff, and it has started a program to help train nurses.

But Beth Bartlett with CHI Health St. Francis said the hospital wants to make sure it can provide adequate care.

“The diversion issue is really hard for all of us,” said Bartlett, the hospital’s vice president for patient care services.

The hospital is obligated to treat anyone who comes to the emergency room with a serious condition. But if the hospital is short on nurses, it might seek to transfer the patient to another facility after the person is stabilized.

In one recent incident, St. Francis officials had to call four hospitals before they could find someplace to transfer two patients because other facilities were also short of nurses.

“It’s not a St. Francis problem,” Bartlett said. “Everybody’s dealing with the same issue.”

The hospital recently created a program offering to pay Central Community College tuition worth $6,768 for up to five students who want to become nurses. In return, the students agree to work for St. Francis for three years.

The first five students in the program that begins in high school were selected recently.

In another effort to attract nurses, the Grand Island hospital also increased its starting wages for nurses by $2.50 per hour. It also offers to help repay student loans for nurses who agree to work at the hospital for several years.


Information from: The Grand Island Independent, https://www.theindependent.com

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