MIDLAND, Texas — It's something we heard a lot during the COVID-19 summer surge — hospital leaders in Midland and Odessa said they were at capacity and their staff were stretched thin.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made all of us understand the importance of nurses. We are now calling them heroes, but also realizing that there is a shortage in their field.
At the moment, Midland Memorial Hospital leaders said they are adequately staffed, but some of their nursing staff has been allocated from the state. In Odessa, Medical Center Hospital officials said they are still short staffed, as the majority of the staff sent from the state will be gone by the beginning of December.
NewsWest 9 spoke with Cindy Canon, director for the F. Marie Hall SimLife Center. Canon said becoming a nurse is one of the best decisions she has ever made.
"I've never regretted, for a second, becoming a nurse," said Canon. "It has always been a fit for me for whatever stage in my life I am at. Now, I get the satisfaction of training tomorrow's health care providers."
Canon was a nurse for about 15 years before transitioning into teaching at Midland College. She said the industry is much different now than the way it was before.
"I think patients are sicker now than they have been in the past," said Canon. "I think nurses and really all health care providers are just getting a little tired too. I think they are facing more stress than they ever had, there is more burnout than in the past."
Canon believes a shortage in health care workers has always existed in the field.
"I think it's reflective in the fact that different facilities have to hire travel nurses and nurses from other countries," said Canon. "I don't know how we will ever be caught up on where we need to be with health care providers."
Canon told NewsWest 9 she chooses to focus on the good. She said that it is the heart of the people who have a passion for caring for others who will always rise above anticipated statistics.
"There all kinds of statistics, for example, I have heard that by the year 2023, there will be this much of a deficit or something along those lines," said Canon. "I don't see nursing really catching up. I feel like there is always a need and there will always be a need."
Canon said they are always working to recruit more nursing students, and because of that, there are no shortages of them at Midland College.
"Our nursing classes have been very competitive for many years," said Canon. "I don't see that decreasing and it's because people are still very drawn to the nursing profession."
Canon believes it is hard to explain where the health care industry will end up, but she knows a lot of people are still willing to join the frontlines.
"The heart of nursing remains the same," said Canon. "It's still caring, it's still compassion. It's holistic care and thinking not only of the physical well-being, but the mental well-being of your patient.