Military medical team deployed to University Hospital to alleviate staffing shortages

Staffing shortages are forcing some hospitals across the state to scramble to keep up. But a military medical team lends a hand at a hospital to ease some of the pressure.

Newark University Hospital is one of the hospitals in New Jersey that was overwhelmed in Omicron’s latest surge. Active members of the medical troop came to the hospital to reinforce the staff.

The University Hospital was just one of six hospitals in the country to receive additional aid. Twenty-five soldiers were deployed to the hospital.

“We are directly integrated into all the different units of the hospital. We have people working in every section…just to be that relief…and let them kneel,” says Major Marshall Glenister.

The military medical team is made up of the type of personnel that the hospital needs the most. There are 10 nurses, as well as several other specialists.

“Most of their needs come from the nursing staff, so the majority of our team is actually RNs,” says Glenister.

Military medical teams have been deployed by President Joe Biden to help ease staffing shortages associated with the sheer volume of patients. Dr Carl Kirton, the head nurse, says he saw firsthand the challenges facing the hospital.

“A lot of our employees were getting sick and out with COVID for a short time,” he says. “But we were lucky to get the military to come and help us with some of that staffing,” Kirton says.

During the holidays, there were a record number of New Jerseyans testing positive for the virus. The number of hospitalizations has also increased. Kirton says the hospital was better prepared during this recent wave than it was during the first wave.

“At that exact moment the hospital, the whole hospital was full of COVID patients and what we were doing at that exact moment, we were learning how to adapt to a new disease,” he says.

COVID states are not as high in New Jersey as they were two weeks ago. But hospital officials say the extra pairs of hands are still needed and much appreciated.

The military team will be deployed for 30 days with a possible extension if necessary. They just finished two weeks.

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