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ICU Nurse Says Her Colleagues Are Thinking About Quitting As COVID Surge Causes PTSD, Anxiety

University of Mississippi
ICU nurses in Mississippi prepare to move a patient August 11th.

COVID ICU admissions are hitting record levels in Oklahoma, and there is a staffing shortage in hospitals. Jill McSparrin is an ICU nurse with INTEGRIS. She spoke today at a Healthier Oklahoma press conference.

“We’re already short on nurses and now several of my colleagues are really seriously thinking about retiring early, finding another area of nursing, or finding a new career altogether. I feel like we're having some PTSD. We're having depression, anxiety, restlessness.”

McSparrin said she recently had a conversation with her supervisor about how to retain nurses. She said hiring more people was an important step.

“They are continuing to hire. And I said also, I really feel like we need some counseling and we need to talk about how we’re going to deal with this. We have set up group counseling and the counselor has come twice. And anyone that wants to participate in that has come.”

When asked if she was making enough money, McSparrin said no.

“I just think, with what we’ve seen in the  last year, and we’ve all talked about it. What we’ve seen and what we’ve been through…I say no.”

ICU nurses are getting bonuses, but chiefly for working more hours.

“We are being offered bonuses for that that if someone wants to come in for an extra shift. But a lot of times for me personally there’s really not enough money to come in for an extra shift. A couple of weeks ago I signed up even for a half shift and the day was terrible. When you watch three people dying at the same time, it’s very difficult.”  

There are 385 people in ICUs across the state according to today's situation update from the state department of health.