Local Tenet Hospitals Bring in Wave of Traveling Nurses for Extra Help

Local Tenet Hospitals Bring in Wave of Traveling Nurses for Extra Help

Daytona Everett

As Eisenhower Health receives federal aid this week, local Tenet hospitals are awaiting a different form of help. JFK Memorial Hospital and Desert Regional Medical Center are a part of the Tenet Healthcare system which has its own response and they started asking for traveling nurses weeks ago, according to Tenet officials.

“The difference between Eisenhower and Desert Regional and JFK is that Eisenhower is a stand alone health care system locally,” Congressman Raul Ruiz said. “They have no other pools of doctors and nurses to draw from.”

Ruiz said Desert Regional and JFK belong to the Tenet national healthcare system that has a national pandemic response and a national plan to move their doctors from other states like Texas to fill in for different hospitals.

Right now, the two hospitals combined have over 80 nurses from around the country with almost 50 more expected to join them next week.

Desert Regional: 23 additional nurses, 30 more scheduled to work next week.

JFK: 58 additional nurses, 17 more are coming next week.

These nurses typically stay at the hospital for about 12 weeks. Tenet officials say they can be hard to come by so the hospital are monitoring trends to see how much help they will need and when.

Throughout the year, hospitals train for emergencies like earthquakes and fires but in those cases, Eisenhower’s public information officer Lee Rice, said the surge of patients usually subsides. Right now, that’s just not the case. 

“The doctors and nurses in all of our hospitals are exhausted and working very hard and tirelessly and reaching their capacity,” Congressman Raul Ruiz said.

Eisenhower Health is reporting at least 66 positive COVID patients and 12 suspect cases. Rice said that number fluctuates constantly as conditions change.

Desert regional has at least 95 COVID patients and 6 suspect cases, according to officials. JFK has at least 38 COVID patients and 4 suspect cases.

NBC Palm Springs asked the Tenet hospitals if they felt prepared for what could happen, they said they have an adequate supply of resources and feel confident.

All three hospitals were able to close one of their COVID units during the stay at home order because the curve flattened and they didn’t need it. Eisenhower said they had to build a new COVID unit a few weeks ago to handle the influx of patients.

Desert Regional is currently at 165 percent of their ICU capacity, a spokesperson said. Capacity has to do with personnel, not just beds.