CAMC facing 'critically' low nursing staff numbers - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

CAMC facing 'critically' low nursing staff numbers

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CHARLESTON, West Virginia -

In internal emails obtained by 13News, Charleston Area Medical Center told their nursing staff they would not be able to transfer floors due to a "critical staffing situation."

"...History has shown that units may be safely staffed one day, and after a few transfers or exits, a unit will be in a critical staffing situation."

CAMC said in a statement Friday that the move is temporary to allow staffing levels to stabilize. 

Duane Napier, Executive Director with the West Virginia Center for Nursing said the issue of nursing shortages has been around West Virginia for a while. 

"It's really not a surprise if that's what CAMC is choosing to do," said Napier about the move. 

Nursing levels, Napier said, change later in the year, because more and more new nurses choose to leave. 

The biggest change a patient will see, Napier says, is a longer wait to see a nurse.

"Ten minutes for their call bell to be answered instead of five minutes," said Napier. 

Patients, however, like Melissa Mullins say the wait was much longer. 

"There are not many nurses, period," Mullins said. "They're hard to find." 

Mullins was released from CAMC General Friday after a car accident earlier in the week. She claimed she waited 45 minutes before seeing a nurse after she asked for one. 

"Not just me, a lot of patients were waiting a long, long time," said Mullins. 

CAMC Communications Director Dale Witte said in a statement that they would revisit the staffing situation on January 5th, 2013.