Univ. of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics aims to maintain clinical workforce amid pandemic ‘burnout’

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 6:06 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - Officials with the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics say they are seeing the same bed capacity for non-COVID care as they were before the pandemic, though CEO Suresh Gunasekaran says what’s different now is the additional work that comes along with COVID-19 care towards patients.

UIHC patients are among the 638 people in Iowa’s hospitals right now with COVID-19 - the highest it’s been all year. Although the New York Times is reporting it’s at 101% capacity, the hospital says it hasn’t limited elective surgeries as others hospitals have.

Next to caring for their patients, Gunasekaran says their main concern is making sure their employees don’t get to that point. They have seen professionals retire early, choose to take a break from health care, or leave to pursue a different position in another place or in a different profession altogether.

Right now, he says they’re not concerned about losing employees. They’ve been able to maintain and divide health care workers based on inpatients’ needs.

He said they don’t have any plans to require vaccines among staff in the near future.

“We monitor all the data on employee transmission and there seems to be very little of it within the building,” Gunasekaran said. “But we also know this is an option we can keep on the table.”

To make sure that doesn’t happen to employees at UIHC, Gunasekaran says they are actively trying to hire hundreds of people. He said the campus needs food service workers, housekeepers, maintenance staff, nursing assistants, and student aides.

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