SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — Bay Area nurses on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic say they are short staffed and fear the healthcare system is reaching a breaking point.

Tammi Bacheki takes a brief break from her shift in the intensive care unit at Kaiser Permanente in Walnut Creek.

A rare free moment between treating critically ill COVID-19 patients.

“I can tell you nurses are exhausted. Respiratory therapists are exhausted,” Bacheki said. “Doctors — every aspect. Every facet of the hospital and the employees.”

And she’s hearing the same from her colleagues at hospitals across the Bay Area.

She says ICU’s are at a tipping point.

“We’re all working overtime. We’re all working double shifts, and extra shifts, and it wears on you,” Bacheki said. “You can do that for a while, but you know, people have been doing this for over a year now, or for about a year now, and it just takes its toll.”

Physically and mentally.

And now she says her unit has reached capacity.

“So, if we get a larger influx of patients coming up through the ED, its gonna be difficult to place those patients,” Bacheki said.

Registered nurse Jamille Cabacungan says she and her colleagues at UCSF Medical Center are also overwhelmed.

Those and others representing national nurses united are pleading for hospitals to staff up.

“When you’re putting nurses in those situations of being short staffed, they’re not going to want to work there anymore. If you are creating burnout and creating an unsafe environment for nurses, that’s why they leave,” Cabacungan said. “So, hospitals need to hire, spend the money and keep career nurses who are invested in that institution.”

Otherwise, an already deadly situation will just get worse.

Latest Posts