Florida faces nursing shortage as COVID-19 cases continue to climb

ORLANDO, Fla. — COVID-19 cases continue to rise around the country and in Central Florida.

Health care facilities are struggling to find help, especially during the holidays.

A local company that recruits workers for those facilities said certified nursing assistants are scarce this Christmas.

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There is an overall shortage of certified nursing assistants and registered nurses because of the pandemic, and getting more in the door this weekend when so many aren’t working, has added to the problem.

“We’re lacking CNAs. We don’t have enough CNAs,” said Matthew Mawby, who co-founded staffhealth.com.

Mawby helps recruit staff for health care facilities across Florida and said CNAs are in especially low supply in Central Florida for more than one reason.

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“Because they’re unpaid and the low wages, there’s really a shortage,” Mawby said. “We get a lot of needs in Kissimmee, Mount Dora.”

Mawby said the pandemic didn’t help things, and the holidays are creating even more of a need.

“We are getting up to 90 applications a day for CNAs,” he said. “Even last-second coverage.”

Adding to the problem is a nationwide nursing shortage.

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A report from the Florida Nurse Workforce shows there were estimated shortfalls back in 2019, and they’re only expected to get worse.

In 2035, the report predicts the Orlando, Kissimmee and Sanford areas will have a shortage of more than 1,600 nurses.

The Villages could fare even worse, with more than 2,600 nursing positions predicted to sit unfilled.

Mawby said there are incentives to get registered nurses in the door, but even more so right now for CNAs.

See more in the video above.

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