4 nurses, 3 years — Aurora's East Mequon Surgery Center faces wave of retirements, talent shortage

Four impending retirements at Aurora Health Care's East Mequon (Wis.) Surgery Center reflect a shortage of operating nurses that seems to be getting worse, according to local news affiliate WTMJ-TV Milwaukee.

Four insights:

1. Christine McCann, East Mequon Surgery Center's nursing supervisor, is one of four nurses planning to retire from the surgery center in the next three years. She has been an operating room nurse since 1978.

"I'm tired. I can't be on my feet eight and nine hours a day anymore. I can't be moving these heavy beds," Ms. McCann said.

2. It took the ASC nearly a year to fill a recent opening, and the center has another open position it has yet to fill. OR nurses are getting older and more replacements are needed, but Aurora is in "a very hard-to-hire area," according to Sharon Chappy, dean of Concordia University's nursing school in Mequon.

3. Aurora, which is based in Milwaukee, partnered with several Wisconsin schools to address the shortage of OR nurses by allowing nursing students to spend a semester in the OR. The program includes students from:

  • Concordia University
  • Alverno College in Milwaukee
  • Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee
  • Marquette University in Milwaukee
  • Milwaukee School of Engineering
  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • Carroll University in Waukesha, Wis.

4. Aurora has already hired several students from the program but told WTMJ-TV it couldn't say how many OR nurses the system still needs.

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