National anesthetist shortage affecting NC facilities including UNC Hospital

CHAPEL HILL, NC (WNCN) — Anesthesia is a necessity in the operating room, but Dr. Bryant Murphy, a professor of anesthesiology at UNC-Chapel Hill, says there is a nationwide shortage of anesthesiologists and other healthcare professionals trained to provide anesthesia.

“On a daily basis, we’re probably missing five to seven people, just in one category,” he explained.

Murphy noted there are a number of reasons for the shortage, including the pandemic and a general shortage of medical staff.

“But a lot of that is just about expansion,” he added. “Hospitals are expanding – the locations where we offer anesthesia are different than they used to be.”

Besides hospitals, anesthesia providers are also needed in places like outpatient surgery centers.

“A good example might be your GI clinic where you do your colonoscopy,” Murphy said. “Today we administer anesthesia differently than we did 10 years ago.”

Murphy says UNC hasn’t had to postpone surgeries because of the shortage, but the hospital has to constantly find ways to work around it.

“Really just talk about how we can move things around, maybe reallocate things,” he said. “To make sure resources are where we need them, when we need them.”

UNC focuses on recruiting and retention, but Murphy noted that there is stiff competition across the state and country for a limited number of people to get the job done. National anesthetist shortage affecting NC facilities including UNC Hospital


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