Battling the shortage: Milwaukee VA holds job fair to secure helping hands

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) - The nursing shortage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is still taking a toll on health care facilities, leading a Milwaukee medical center to hold a nursing job fair on Thursday, April 28.

For more than two years, the daily grind has been different for workers at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center, and at most health care organizations.

"During COVID, we had to change pretty much everything we were doing at the time. We had to shift our nursing ratios, we had to shift how we did pretty much everything, and it was a learning process," said registered nurse, Heathe Wehse.

The reallocation of labor in order to process the pandemic, coupled with the challenges and stress, affected overall staffing.

"It's safe to say that every health care organization right now is experiencing a tight labor market. We're no different," said VA's Human Resources Officer, Matt Zirbes.

That change is what led the VA Medical Center to hold their first in-person career fair since 2019. Managers could meet candidates for RN, CNA and LPN positions, hold interviews, and hire on the spot. It's a way to provide a much-needed helping hand.

"More hands, more brains in the mix. We just need extra people to help us work," Wehse said.

Though Zirbes noted that the hospital does currently have an adequate team, he is hoping the career fair brings awareness to their mission.

"We're looking for the best and brightest, and we're looking for folks who really have a passion for taking care of our nation's veterans," Zirbes said.

If you couldn't make it to Thursday's career fair, the VA is always hiring medical professionals. Click here for more information.

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