FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – As COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to rise across Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley, local hospitals are struggling to find the staff to meet the growing need.
StaffDNA is one company that works to connected health professionals from all across the country with hospitals like Washington Regional or others in need of additional support. It said recently there has been a 600% increase in available jobs for medical professionals.
Imran Vithani with StaffDNA is tasked with getting nurses and doctors from surrounding states to Northwest Arkansas.
“That’s our job – how do we help our communities? Because if you or I have a mom in the hospital, we want to make sure there is someone to take care of them. That is the real inspiration behind everything that we do,” said Vithani.
A job, he said, has been a challenge with health professionals being in short supply across the country.
“In my opinion, there is no saturated market. Everyone in the country is looking for additional help,” said Vithani.
Even with 20,000 job seekers signing onto StaffDNA a month and traveling nursing positions starting at $3,000 per week, hospitals like Washington Regional said they need more people moving to the area to combat this third wave of the pandemic.
“We now have as many COVID-19 cases hospitalized as we had back in the winter. It took about six weeks to get to that back in the winter. It’s taken three weeks this time,” said Washington Regional Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Ratcliff.
We asked Dr. Ratcliff what happens if they can’t find the staff they need.
“We will do what it takes. Will we have to provide services with less staff than we want to? Absolutely. Will our staff become even more strapped than they already are? Absolutely. But we will do what it takes to take care of our community,” said Dr. Ratcliff.
Projections made by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences show it will be at least two more weeks before Northwest Arkansas hospitals hit the peak for hospitalizations.