Cenla and nation experience nursing shortage amid pandemic

The pandemic has changed life as we know it, and nurses are needed now more than ever.
Published: Jan. 14, 2021 at 11:00 AM CST
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Even before the pandemic, hospitals everywhere were looking for qualified nurses. Now, because of COVID-19, hospitals are operating at overcapacity.

The pandemic has changed life as we know it, and nurses are needed now more than ever.

Here at home, nursing students at LSUA are being prepared for the challenges they’re sure to face after graduation.

“We are trying to prepare our graduates for the challenges that they will face in today’s health care agencies,” said LSUA Department of Nursing Chair, Cathy Cormier.

These are challenges that students couldn’t possibly have predicted when they first chose to go to nursing school.

“I think right now, it’s just hard for everyone to comprehend the totality of COVID-19,” said LSUA Senior Student, Jasper Williams.

Seniors Jasper Williams and Camaron Cloud are both looking forward to graduation in May. They said they’re ready to be in the field as front-line health care workers.

“Just to be a nurse right now, you know you are providing someone with the level of care that they can’t get from anyone else,” said Williams.

“It’s really amazing to become a nurse and actually take care of those patients, because we see patients on their worst day,” Said LSUA Senior Student, Camaron Cloud.

A level of care that only those with a passion for helping others will be able to understand.

“It’s a very difficult job to do because it’s very physically demanding, it’s emotionally demanding, spiritually demanding,” said Billy McRae, Director of Christus Community Clinic.

“The pandemic has really kind of put more stress on an already stressed out hospital situation with the shortages. Most of your hospitals now are running at capacity or overcapacity,” said McRae.

Here locally at Christus St. Frances Cabrini Hospital, nurses of every specialty are needed. At the Christus Community Clinic on MacArthur, health care staff are looking for nurses who can administer monoclonal antibody infusions.

“That has really caused a stress on the clinics because we really have started doing this without any extra help,” said McRae.

Nurses would also monitor patients.

“We see patients on their worst days and we have to remember that. So we have to be the ones that encourage them, take care of them both physically and mentally.”

Camaron Cloud, LSUA Senior Nursing Student

“Just to be able to help someone in their time of need at the most critical time in their life, I think that’s amazing.”

Jasper Williams, LSUA Senior Nursing Student

It’s a bedsidereminder to thank the health care workers who are making a difference right here in Cenla, as they work long hours to keep us safe.

“Nurses are getting tired and I worry about that may increase the shortage,” said Cormier.

“We need to take care of our nurses so that we can keep them in the fold and keep them practicing at the bed side.”

Cathy Cormier, LSUA Department of Nursing Chair

The monoclonal antibody treatment is a synthetic antibody treatment that helps your body fight the COVID-19 virus.

If you’re interested in getting the treatment at the Cabrini Community Clinic, there are a few qualifications for eligibility.

You have to be positive for COVID-19 with a test that’s been done in the last 10 days. Anyone 65 and older is automatically eligible. If you’re 55 and older with certain health conditions, you’re eligible for the treatment as well. The treatment is also open to anyone over the age of 18 who has a BMI of 35 percent or higher, or another condition such as diabetes.

If you’d like to get the treatment, all you have to do is come into the clinic and you’ll be placed on a list. McRae says you should be infused either the day you sign up, or the next day.

If you’re a nurse who’s interested in helping at the clinic, you can call Billy McRae directly at 318-446-4814, or apply online here. To apply for any nursing position within Cabrini, you can visit here.

For more information on the monoclonal antibody treatment, you can visit here.

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