UPMC Altoona addresses staff shortages following town hall

Local News

ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ)– UPMC Altoona has issued a response after nurses from the hospital held a virtual town hall on Monday to discuss problems affecting the working conditions, including a staff shortage.

UPMC Altoona said in a statement to WTAJ that they understand why the nurses are upset and that there are many factors that have caused staffing shortages.

“We agree with our nurses about the desire to add staff. UPMC Altoona, like all others in the region and the Commonwealth, have a need for health care workers caused by many factors – many who reexamined their careers, leaving the workforce entirely or leaving for new employers, and others making different choices for less time at the bedside or additional flexibility.”

They went on to explain how they have expanded their efforts in adding more employees to the hospital staff.

“UPMC already expanded its recruitment and retention offerings to employees and prospective employees to address the needs across many types of workers, nurses and others. UPMC Altoona has also held multiple job fairs over the last few months to recruit our fellow community members to join our team.”

They also said about how grateful they are for their employees and want to know that they are doing their best to make sure everyone receives the care they need.

“On arrival to our Emergency Department, we strive to treat all, focusing on those with the highest level of concern first. We empathize with those who have had to wait for that care, and we are grateful for our selfless employees who work so hard to care for people. They are heroes and do this for those ill and having some of their most difficult days with the anxiety and uncertainty of a medical emergency.”

For the entire statement UPMC Altoona gave WTAJ see below:

“We agree with our nurses about the desire to add staff. UPMC Altoona, like all others in the region and the Commonwealth, have a need for health care workers caused by many factors – many who reexamined their careers, leaving the workforce entirely or leaving for new employers, and other making different choices for less time at the bedside or additional flexibility. UPMC already expanded its recruitment and retention offerings to employees and prospective employees to address the needs across many types of workers, nurses and others. UPMC Altoona has also held multiple job fairs over the last few months to recruit our fellow community members to join our team. We have positions open and encourage those with a desire to serve and support to apply on our Careers page. Every day, we seek the best and brightest talent to join our team and help us care for all who need it.”

“Our goal is to always provide the care every patient needs. On arrival to our Emergency Department, we strive to treat all, focusing on those with the highest level of concern first. We empathize with those who have had to wait for that care, and we are grateful for our selfless employees who work so hard to care for people. They are heroes and do this for those ill and having some of their most difficult days with the anxiety and uncertainty of a medical emergency.”

“Our UPMC Altoona team members’ commitment and dedication is unparalleled. Yes, we are extremely busy in our Emergency Department right now. Yes, it is a struggle. Yes, we stay open to serve all who come with any unplanned illness or injury – we do not close or divert away.”

We also need help in return. Here are some ways the community can do its part:

  • GET VACCINATED against COVID-19 AND the flu this fall. Blair and Bedford counties have the lowest vaccination rates in Pennsylvania. Vaccination doesn’t mean you will be immune to COVID-19 or the flu, but it does mean if you get COVID-19, it is much less likely that you will require hospitalization or die.
  • Continue to mask to prevent and slow the spread.
  • Use the Emergency Department only for more severe medical concerns and choose other levels of care for less immediate health needs.
  • Be kind and show appreciation to health care workers.

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