DES MOINES, Iowa — Healthcare workers have spent nearly two years trying to treat COVID-19, and Iowa politicians are debating the best way to keep the frontlines full throughout the pandemic.
The state is currently spending more than $9 million to bring in more than 100 temporary nurses to staff its 17 highest-rated hospitals.
Gov. Kim Reynolds remarked on the hospital worker situation during her Condition of the State address Wednesday.
“Five of the state’s top ten postings are healthcare careers; registered nurses and nursing assistants are at the top of that list,” Reynolds said Wednesday. “The shortage of healthcare workers is one of our greatest workforce concerns, especially in rural Iowa.”
Deidre Dejear, a Democrat hoping to unseat Reynolds as governor in this year’s election, also commented on the workforce shortage this week. She sent out a tweet during Reynolds’ address in support of higher pay for Iowa’s current health care workers, a message she reiterated during a Friday interview with WHO 13.
“People are doing the work; let’s pay them their worth so they can continue to do the work,” Dejear said. “I hear practitioners in general that are just tired, feeling they aren’t worth the amount of work they’re putting into it, but we know they’re worth it.”
In a message to WHO 13, the Iowa Department of Public Health said the current agreement to staff Iowa hospitals with temporary workers from other states lasts until mid-February.