Employees help staffing shortages at local hospital

Keeping Kids Safe

BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) — After working in emergency departments for more than a decade, Melanie Hall started educating other nurses several years ago. Now she’s back where she started.

“I left the beside back in 2018 so it wasn’t as easy for me to just transition back, but I just fell right back into it,” Hall said.

Hall is one of more than 700 employees with Akron Children’s Hospital who volunteered to be part of the “Helping Hands” program, where staff agrees to move into other work areas to offset staffing shortages.

Colleague Robyn Young also volunteered and splits her time between education and the emergency department in Boardman.

“I felt bad, you know? My heart went out to them, that they’re drowning, that they needed some help,” Young said.

“We had been okay from a staffing perspective when the volumes were down, but then as the volumes started to go up and people continue to leave the workforce we were out of balance,” said chief nursing officer Chris Young.

The “Helping Hands” program is open to anyone in the Akron Children’s system and can cover all manner of jobs not just related to bedside care.

“You’re literally just being an extra set of hands, maybe going to the lab, helping patients go to the bathroom, or discharging patients, things like that,” Robyn Young said.

With COVID-19 cases expected to rise again over the holidays and early into the New Year, administrators said the program will continue at least through next spring.

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