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'You can't do it much longer' | Doctors, nurses burnt out and ready to quit

A recent survey of North Carolina nurses showed 40% of them work at a hospital that's short staffed. 13% of them said they're ready to resign.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The recent trend named "the great resignation" has swept the country amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. That wave includes the very people who are saving many from the virus. Many nurses and doctors who haven't quit just yet say they're ready to do it. 

"You know, it's draining," said Dr. Dupal Patel, a family medicine doctor in Charlotte. 

She's one of many in the healthcare industry who's questioning if it's worth staying on the job. 

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The healthcare heroes we once cheered on and supported during the beginning of the pandemic are exhausted by a war waged on the virus, misinformation that's taken hold, the distrust in science, and long overtime hours due to staffing shortages. 

"It's hard to care for people who are questioning your motives when you were trained to take care of them," Patel said. "Nurses, doctors are going to leave the workforce much faster."

In a recent survey of roughly 500 nurses in North Carolina, the state's nurses association found that 13% of nurses are close to calling it quits due to burnout. 40% reported they are currently working at a facility that's already low on staff. 

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It's a reality that goes beyond the hospital and state lines. 

In Charlotte, with fewer people going into the field, Medic is short on staff, too. They need more ambulance drivers, according to Mecklenburg County Health Director Gibbie Harris. 

The same strain is being put on paramedics in South Carolina, where they are similarly short-staffed.

Back in Charlotte, Patel is trying her best to push forward. 

"I question whether I'm going to be a doctor for much longer if they see this," she said. "You can't do it much longer."

Contact Hunter Sáenz at hsaenz@wcnc.com and follow him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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