Healthcare workers face hospital staffing emergency

NEBRASKA -- We all want the stress of the pandemic to be over, but it's still hitting health workers hard because of labor shortages and resource deficiency. Thursday, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts echoed the desperate sentiment of many nurses during a news conference: he issued a hospital staffing emergency.

The declaration would limit some surgeries in hospitals, and lessen the requirements of staff so that more people can be on deck. 

At the same time, Ricketts still stands by the idea that vaccines and masks should be voluntary: "I'm still against vaccine mandates," Ricketts said at the conference.

Some nurses agree and demand freedom over their bodies, protesting vaccine mandates.

While avoiding mandates, hospitals in Nebraska do ask people to take each measure they can to stop the pandemic -- so that healthcare staff can finally catch a break.

UNMC estimated a shortage of 4,000 nurses in Nebraska, while places like Methodist Hospital in Omaha note they have to pause some elective surgeries; and Children’s Hospital and Medical Center announced they need more children's beds because of how serious the pandemic is getting again.

Doctors believe the solutions aren't simple.

"It takes years of training to get to the point where you can take care of a COVID patient," Dr. Syed Abdullah Waheed said.

How far people are willing to go to ease that struggle is the question now.