Military medical team deployed to University Hospital to assist with staffing shortages
Staffing shortages are leaving some hospitals around the state scrambling to keep up. But a military medical team is lending a hand at one hospital to alleviate some of the pressure.
University Hospital in Newark is one of the hospitals in New Jersey that was overwhelmed during the latest Omicron surge. Active medical troop members came to the hospital to bolster staffing.
University Hospital was just one of six hospitals in the country to get the extra help. Twenty-five service members were deployed at the hospital.
“We’re embedded directly with all the various units throughout the hospital. We have people working in every section…just to be that relief…and let them take a knee,” says Maj. Marshall Glenister.
The medical military team is comprised of the type of staff members the hospital is most in need of. There are 10 nurses, along with several other specialists.
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“The bulk of their needs comes from the nursing staff, so that’s why the majority of our team are actually registered nurses,” Glenister says.
Medical military teams were deployed by President Joe Biden to help ease staffing shortages, coupled with the sheer volume of patients. Dr. Carl Kirton, the chief nursing officer, says he saw firsthand the challenges the hospital had.
“Many of our staff were getting sick and were out with COVID for a short period of time,” he says. “But we were fortunate enough in order to get the Army to come in and help us with some of that staffing,” Kirton says.
Over the holidays there were record-breaking numbers of New Jerseyans testing positive for the virus. The number of hospitalizations also went up. Kirton says the hospital was better prepared during this recent surge than they were during the first surge.
“At that particular point in time, the hospital, the entire hospital was filled with patients with COVID and what we were doing at that particular point in time, we were learning how to adapt to a new disease,” he says.
COVID states are not as high in New Jersey as they were two weeks ago. But hospital officials say that the extra sets of hands are still needed and much appreciated.
The military team will be deployed for 30 days with a possible extension if needed. They just completed two weeks.