STAFFING CRISIS: Maine’s Nurse Shortage Reaches Into The Thousands
Not shockingly, I come from a long-line of nurses. Let me clarify, I am NOT a nurse. No, sadly, instead of being a respected healthcare professional, I make fart jokes into a microphone- but alas, I love what I do.
Though I myself am not a nurse, my mother, sister, cousin, aunt and 4 very close friends are. And even though we all have stories about all the nurses we have in our lives, there still aren't enough to cover the need here in the Pine Tree State.
Hearing the term 'nursing shortage' is nothing new by any means. It seems that, for the last several decades at least, Maine and many other states alike, have been facing an apparent shortage of healthcare workers, particularly, nurses. And now, for Maine, that shortage has reached a fever pitch.
WGME 13 recently published a story on their website where they investigated the nursing shortage in Maine. They looked at the number of jobs available as well as the number of licensed nurses in Maine who just aren't working in that field anymore.
One nurse they talked to from Maine Medical Center, Emma Cooper, said that she had left nursing after only a couple years because of 'unspeakable trauma, however, years later, she has returned to the profession.
The story goes on to share that stories like Cooper's are not all that uncommon. Cokie GIles, President of the Maine State Nurses Association, told the WGME I-Team that many nurses have left their posts due to 'emotional exhaustion', among other factors.
Giles told the WGME I-Team in part,
"Just the idea when you go home at night you just cry and when you come in the next day, you cry. And I just feel that my first 20 years as a nurse, I got to take care of people. I got to do everything I was taught to do. Not so, not so in these last 10 to 15 years,"
And, it's not just Maine, According to the national nursing database, over 4 million nurses have active licenses in the United States, however, according to the Maine Hospital Association, of the nearly 24,000 nurses that are practicing their profession in the state of Maine, less than half all those nurses are choosing to work in the state's hospitals.
According to Indeed.Com, the average pay rate of a Registered Nurse in the state of Maine is $64.86 per hour, almost 50% higher than the National average.