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Nurses at Eastside hospital brace for shortage

Nurses at St. Joseph's Hospital
Posted at 4:19 PM, Feb 19, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-19 19:13:59-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN 9) — It's projected Arizona will be short about 28,100 nurses by 2025.

The shortage comes as no surprise to the nurses who work at St. Joseph's Hospital on Tucson's east side.

"It doesn't just affect Arizona or even Carondelet," Lynn Watson, Chief Nursing Officer at Carondelet Health Network, said. "It's a national shortage. Every state is working really hard to try and address it."

Nurses are in high demand in just about every state and with Arizona's growth, the demand keeps increasing.

"I applied to a lot of different hospitals and almost immediately heard back," Kelsey Swinney, said.

Besides the need, the industry has had to grapple with losing several nurses during the pandemic.

"The COVID-19 pandemic took a big dent out of our nursing workforce as many nurses chose to step away from this great profession," Watson said. "Certainly we are doing everything we can to try and bring them back in and support them along the way. Specifically here in Arizona, the demand for nurses actually has almost doubled because we've experienced so much growth both in Phoenix and Tucson, and we have an aging population."

The impact is expected to push the current workforce to its limits, increasing wait times for the care many of us need.

At St. Joseph's Hospital, they have been working to get more nurses to apply, like Jillian Baker.

"I always wanted to be a nurse and in the medical field." Baker said. "I would say that I didn't find out exactly why I wanted to be a nurse until after I was nursing for a few years. I love advocating for the patients and I want to be one of the nurses that wants to be taking care of you."

Baker said those looking into the field, should go for it.

"I think you should try it," she said. "I think you should come in and see what it's like because it can capture your heart. It can be hard and you have bad days, but ultimately, I think it's very rewarding."

Carondelet Health Network's next hiring event is March 4 at St. Mary's Hospital from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and March 28 at St. Joseph's Hospital from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.