LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — A neurology resident at the University of Kentucky said a shortage in healthcare workers is having a negative impact on both employees and patients.
"There's a shortage of everyone in the hospital," Molly Bates said. "There's never enough hands on deck."
Bates, who is in her second year of residency, recently felt compelled to advocate for both her colleagues and her patients.
"Our patients are having to wait six months to get in for a visit to see me," Bates said. "I'm having to see seven-stroke alerts at the same time. I'm having to work 66 hours a week--like minimum."
Frustrated with the workload, Bates recently approached her supervisor.
"I was like, 'What in the world is happening?'" Bates recalled. "'This is not acceptable. We can do better as a society, we can do better as a hospital.'"
The supervisor recommended Bates apply to attend Neurology on the Hill, a conference in Washington D.C., where neurologists from around the country convene to meet with lawmakers and advocate for change.
Last month, Bates joined other neurologists in meetings with members of the Kentucky delegation and urged them to pass the Resident Physician Shortage Act of 2021 [aan.com].
The United States is facing a shortage of between 37,800 and 124,000 physicians by 2034 [aamc.org], according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.
"We were advocating for patients above all else," Bates said.
According to a report in Lancet Psychiatry [journals.lww.com], one-third of patients diagnosed with COVID-19 had a psychiatric or neurologic disorder within six months, including depression, anxiety, strokes, and dementia.
"I feel like there's more of a chance to make an impact than I did before," Bates said of her trip to D.C. "They're actual people that you can sit down with and have a conversation."