Nursing, Respiratory Therapist Shortages Could Impact Texas

The Dallas Morning News reports demand for nurses and respiratory therapists will likely to go up as the number of COVID-19 cases rises.

By Terri LangfordMarch 30, 2020 2:09 pm

Studies in the past few years have shown that there’s a shortage of nurses in Texas and nationwide.

But recently, The Dallas Morning News zeroed in on those studies and how the number of respiratory therapists, a critical professional needed especially now during the coronavirus pandemic, has remained unchanged for years.

“A respiratory therapist would not only diagnose problems with patients but they would also care for them,” Ariana Giorgi, a  data journalist with The Dallas Morning News told Texas Standard. “So they’re going to be monitoring any kind of breathing equipment including, now as we’ve heard a lot about, ventilators.”

Labor statistics show that in 2017 there were about 2,000 respiratory therapists in the Dallas-Irving-Plano area, but it’s becoming clear with the onset of COVID-19 that more will be needed, Giorgi says.

“So there’s a concern that as we need more ventilators for patients, we’ll also need more respiratory therapists to man those ventilators,” she says.

Giorgi added that here are about 41,000 nurses in the Dallas metro area. A rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in the Dallas area could mean many more are needed, particularly if health care workers themselves get sick.