Healthcare industry deals with COVID and worker shortage


Ashlan Mortensen, Geyser Staff Writer

Staffing has been a problem in almost every service industry, and healthcare has been no different. In an interview with Dr. Scott Coleman, he said there have been problems all the way from the janitorial and kitchen staff to the doctor. There has been a need for employment, whether it is that they have people who left their jobs for other necessary things like childcare or the patient increase calling for more well trained employees. One of the biggest needs right now is having well trained nursing staff, which in reality is quite expensive. The hospital has resorted to hiring traveling nurses who are well trained, but need higher pay.
The kitchen staff has been highly impacted by COVID, with a higher need for staff, but they seemingly are unable to get the numbers that they need. At first they needed to change how they served food so that it was following COVID-19 protocol, now they need to feed more patients and cannot offer as many options as they once did. Despite the challenges that the hospital kitchen staff has faced, they have done their part to help our community in these times. They have started making meals for people to come pick up and take to their families for a reasonable price. With the inability to have as many options in the kitchen, they have resorted to making simpler, one option meals for the employees and hospital patients.
With these times, many of the hospital employees have experienced burnout, and the hospital is doing their part to try and help with this issue. They have done things like buying coffee for the staff, and the employees have also tried to boost morale among the staff. In addition to, the historical parties and celebrations that usually happen within Livingston healthcare, the employees have hosted their own celebrations for holidays, baby showers and any other chance they can get.
It isn’t only the hospital that is struggling at this time, the dental industry has also had some major difficulties during this time. In an interview that I had with Julie Marshall, she told me about the short staffing Livingston dental care has had. They are in a better spot than they were at the beginning of the pandemic, but are still in need of a dentist, two hygienists and a dental assistant. There is also a shortage of people going into dental hygienist school right now, so this shortage will most likely be a problem into the future. Hopefully with time these problems will diminish and the healthcare industry will be able to keep serving the community as it always has.