STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Huntsville Hospital CEO discusses nationwide nurse shortage, local impact

Spillers said there has been a shortage of nurses for at least 30 years.

Posted: Aug 13, 2020 7:56 PM
Updated: Aug 13, 2020 8:33 PM

Huntsville Hospital talked to WAAY 31 about a nationwide nursing shortage and how the problem is impacting his hospital system here in North Alabama.

David Spillers, hospital CEO, said the coronavirus pandemic might be making the nursing shortage more apparent to people in the community, but it's nothing new.

"I've been doing this for 30 years and there has been a shortage for 30 years. It literally has been a nursing shortage for 30 years."

Spillers explained why his hospital system struggles to recruit nurses.

"It is particularly difficult to recruit nurses to Alabama because Alabama hospitals are paid so poorly. We have a very hard time competing with other states where Medicare, Medicaid and in particular Blue Cross provide substantially greater revenue to those hospitals which allow them to pay much higher salaries," he said.

Spillers said he depends on colleges in the area to help fill vacancies at the hospital.

"We've been at a disadvantage for a long time. That goes on today. We had to get very creative. One of the reasons we are so dependent on Calhoun and UNA and the local colleges that train nurses because hopefully those nurses want to stay in this area and continue to take care of this region."

Spillers said the one time there wasn't a major shortage of nurses in the system was during the last recession.

"When a lot of nurses that retired came back into the workforce because their retirements had been hit, and they're a little concerned about that and for a brief period of time we seemed to have more applicants than we did vacancies," he added.

Spillers said the hospital is working to on-board new nurses currently to help fill the gap, but there will still be open positions even with the latest hires.

Huntsville
Few Clouds
21° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 21°
Florence
Clear
24° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 24°
Fayetteville
Clear
21° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 21°
Decatur
Scattered Clouds
22° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 22°
Scottsboro
Few Clouds
23° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 23°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 252900

Reported Deaths: 3638
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson33526501
Mobile20103365
Madison13723151
Tuscaloosa13366154
Montgomery12552236
Shelby1079677
Baldwin9051137
Lee787266
Morgan696451
Calhoun6598121
Etowah656167
Marshall647357
Houston541038
DeKalb498137
Cullman462443
St. Clair441956
Limestone440445
Lauderdale426754
Elmore421164
Walker3735111
Talladega370157
Jackson340423
Colbert332042
Blount306140
Autauga281842
Franklin257434
Coffee250015
Dale239054
Dallas231532
Chilton228939
Russell22663
Covington225034
Escambia202331
Tallapoosa187291
Chambers182750
Pike161514
Clarke161019
Marion144736
Winston137523
Lawrence133436
Pickens126518
Geneva12508
Marengo123424
Bibb120418
Barbour118911
Butler118642
Randolph105522
Cherokee105124
Hale98131
Fayette94616
Washington93219
Clay92824
Henry8896
Monroe83011
Lowndes80929
Cleburne78814
Macon75522
Crenshaw72230
Bullock70119
Lamar7018
Conecuh70014
Perry6916
Wilcox64818
Sumter58622
Greene43518
Choctaw43114
Coosa3664
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 380186

Reported Deaths: 4638
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby49077671
Davidson43915423
Knox19739155
Rutherford18613164
Hamilton17549154
Williamson1183781
Sumner10255137
Out of TN832854
Wilson788382
Montgomery700185
Sullivan6787102
Washington6360109
Maury626169
Putnam607483
Blount586362
Bradley558337
Madison5519111
Sevier521933
Unassigned513922
Robertson395453
Tipton379439
Hamblen367961
Gibson334068
Greene330473
Dyer328352
Anderson316730
Dickson302535
Coffee299042
Bedford292232
Carter290558
Lawrence284134
Obion274850
McMinn273855
Cumberland269937
Roane251929
Warren248420
Jefferson241233
Loudon239520
Fayette232939
Monroe229544
Hardeman228838
Weakley223136
Franklin221036
Lauderdale210124
Hawkins207135
Wayne196210
Henderson191834
Trousdale191812
Macon187429
White186219
Rhea184334
Marshall182722
Hardin182125
Carroll181235
Lincoln171118
Cheatham168517
Cocke168330
Haywood166530
Campbell163123
Henry160818
Overton156635
Giles153349
Smith148820
Johnson144723
McNairy143133
Fentress125320
DeKalb123522
Hickman122619
Bledsoe11945
Lake11826
Crockett117727
Marion115319
Scott11447
Grainger108217
Chester104421
Decatur96413
Claiborne9339
Unicoi91826
Benton86414
Grundy80014
Cannon7954
Lewis78714
Morgan7806
Union7535
Humphreys7508
Jackson71210
Polk70415
Stewart61915
Houston59920
Clay56218
Sequatchie5555
Meigs51613
Perry49821
Moore4082
Pickett40014
Van Buren3832
Hancock1854

Community Events