Larned State Hospital dealing with employee shortage

Larned State Hospital (KSN File Photo)

LARNED, Kansas – New concerns have come up about a staffing shortage at Larned State Hospital.

It is the largest psychiatric facility in the state that serves western Kansas, but right now, about half of the 614 positions are vacant.

“People are overtired, and it’s very difficult to do your best work when you’re overtired,” said Rebecca Proctor.

Proctor works with the Kansas Organization of State Employees. It’s the labor group that represents many LPN’s and technicians at Larned State Hospital.

She says staff shortages are hitting employees hard.

“Well, we’ve been hearing from Larned for quite a while that conditions are very difficult for the employees.”

The Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services oversees the work at Larned.

A spokesperson tells us that they do hire temps to help with the workload but do require some overtime.

They say the “Need for constant employees from such a small community is a challenge.”

Turnover is also high:

“During the first quarter of 2015, the hospital hired 68 new employees, however, 73 resigned during that same time period.”

The labor group says it’s been an ongoing issue.

“That’s bottom line, bottom line here is pay, it’s simply not competitive and it’s not at the level it needs to be given the high stress and difficulty of the job.”

The state says they hold job fairs, advertise recruitment drives and work with local colleges to hire employees.

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