National Guard Forced to Fill in as Nursing Assistants Amid Devastating Healthcare Worker Shortage

National Guard Forced to Fill in as Nursing Assistants Amid Devastating Healthcare Worker Shortage

(TruthandLiberty.com) – For nearly two years, the National Guard has served in a variety of capacities during the pandemic. They assisted the states with COVID-19 testing, contract-tracing, answering the phones at unemployment centers and vaccinating untold numbers of Americans. It’s a job many didn’t sign up for when they joined the Guard.

Like their reserve and active-duty counterparts, National Guard members serve in virtually any capacity, from combat operations and support roles to cybersecurity. Few, if any, imagined they would train so quickly to work in healthcare.

Thousands of National Guard members have found themselves in the new line of work as hospital nursing shortages plague the healthcare industry around the country. Many nurses are experiencing severe burnout, and nearly one in five have quit since February 2020. Others are out of work temporarily sick, but enough absences at once create complications for the remaining staff.

Now, colleges are training National Guard soldiers and airmen to alleviate the shortages at hospitals and nursing homes. Some go from soldiers to certified nursing assistants in as short as two weeks. Most volunteered for active duty rather than waiting for the system to call them to mandatory service.

Using the National Guard to help hospitals and nursing homes is only a short-term fix. In total, the government activated over 50,000 Guardsmen to assist with pandemic issues. Guard personnel will be working through mid-March at hospitals and nursing homes, but healthcare executives hope the assistance will extend longer. Over the last month, hospitalizations in the United States due to COVID-19 have dropped dramatically.

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