COVID-19 feels like a 'rip tide that keeps pulling nursing under'

Nurses in the COVID-19 unit of MedStar St. Mary's Hospital check the fit of protective equipment before entering a patient's room March 24, 2020 in Leonardtown, Maryland.
Nurses in the COVID-19 unit of MedStar St. Mary's Hospital check the fit of protective equipment before entering a patient's room March 24, 2020 in Leonardtown, Maryland. Photo credit Win McNamee/Getty Images

Many hospitals and clinics are buckling, not necessarily under the crush of COVID-19 patients but the lack of staffing to treat them.

Do we need both short-term and long-term plans to handle this surge?

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For her part, Megan Brunson doesn't think of delta or omicron as surges.

"For me, it's like this rip tide that keeps pulling nursing under," she explained. "You come up for air and it just hits you from a different angle."

Brunson has been an ICU nurse for over 20 years.

She's also the past National President of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses.

Brunson told KCBS Radio's "Ask An Expert" on Wednesday that this is the time to get creative with staffing and for hospitals to put aside their petty competitive positions. "The hospital down the street that's been your competitor, can we partner with them and flex nurses to work in different areas and resource pool nurses that are willing to step up," she said.

Brunson also suggested reaching out to late-career nurses to leverage help in shorter shifts or part-time roles.