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Avera cuts 8-10 nursing positions in Mitchell

Avera Queen of Peace Hospital in Mitchell is merging two of its nursing units, a move expected to eliminate eight to 10 positions.

Monday, Avera Queen of Peace announced its surgical and pediatric nursing unit, located on the hospital’s third floor, will be combined with its medical nursing unit, located on the hospital’s second floor.

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Any of the hospital’s affected employees not hired for the new, consolidated nursing unit will be placed in a transitional pool while the hospital works to place them in other positions within the Avera Health System, according to a news release. Those employees will receive regular pay and benefits for up to two months during the transition.

Avera Queen of Peace Regional President and CEO Tom Clark said the move is a response to the increasing number of people being treated on an outpatient basis, which means fewer hospital stays for patients.

“We are faced with the challenge of realigning resources from the parts of our business that are seeing lower volumes and moving them to growing parts of our business,” Clark said in a news release, which was issued after The Daily Republic called to ask about a tip it had received regarding layoffs.

Clark said the shift from inpatient to outpatient care is a national trend affecting hospitals, and leadership at Avera Queen of Peace expects the trend to continue in the foreseeable future.

“It was time to make this move,” Clark said. “It is my belief that making prudent adjustments now will prepare us to successfully continue our mission for many years to come.”