COVID’s cost for South Dakota health care: staff shortages, burnout

Health care workers at local hospitals are saying that as more COVID-19 patients continue to flood into their intensive care units and emergency rooms, it’s becoming increasingly harder for staff to continue on like they have for the past two years. 

The Argus Leader spoke to care providers at Avera Health and Sanford Health in Sioux Falls who agreed that the last two years of COVID-19 have taken a toll on their staff, from those getting sick to those having to leave the profession entirely due to burnout. Staff are encouraging the public to get their vaccines and stay healthy so more people can stop coming into their ICUs needing critical COVID-19 care.

“It just feels like we’ve been working the same day for the last two years,” Makayla Hagerty, an ICU charge nurse at Sanford Health said.

‘Some days it’s hard to come to work’

A health care professional monitors a COVID-19 patient at Sanford Hospital.

Taking care of COVID-19 patients over two years and the high level of stress that comes with treating the sickest of the sick has also led to some health care workers to either leave the ICU floor or the profession entirely. 

Carrie Hoisington, a nursing education supervisor at the Avera Health Intensive Care Unit, said that she’s seen nurses on her team leave because it’s what’s best for their mental health.

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