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Cumberland County Hospitals Have Trouble Filling Nursing Vacancies

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FAYETTEVILLE — Nurses are always in demand. However, Cumberland County hospitals cannot find enough nurses to fill vacancies, which means patients may have to wait a little longer to get care.

Twenty-five years ago, Susan Phillips, a registered nurse, never thought she would be working behind the desk of a home health care agency. She and other nurses are leaving the industry in droves.

"Today, we have RN's who are sales representatives with drug companies and case managers for insurance companies," Phillips says. "They are looking for less intensity, a slower pace and ability to do good patient care."

Because of the nurse shortage nationwide,Cape Fear Valley Medical Centeris down more than 70 nurses.

"Sometimes we don't have enough nurses to staff beds that we want to staff. It also means sometimes (there is) a wait for patients who are trying to find a bed in a hospital," says Clinton Weaver, hospital spokesman.

Weaver says the hospital is recruiting nurses nationwide and has even set up a task force to study why so many nurses are leaving.

Phillips says her mind is made up. She does not plan to go back into nursing.

"I enjoy what I'm doing here in home health. It's a needed service and I'm happy here," she says.

Cape Fear Valley is steadily making some progress. Six months ago, the hospital was down to 100 nurses. The hospital is now slowly filling the vacancies.


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