She tells her employers to remember to “suck it up” to her and her colleagues as they each struggled to take care of the six patients and taped their protective gear with tape until they were completely Do not fall apart. The $ 800 or a week he took home no longer seemed worth it.
“I couldn’t sleep and had the most anxiety in my life,” Tripeni said. “I’m like, ‘I’m going to go where my skills are needed and I can be guaranteed that I need my protection.”
In April, she packed her bags for a two-month contract at Kovid’s Hot Spot New Jersey, a “mass exodus” of nurses who became suburban Denver hospital dropout nurses . His new salary? About $ 5,200 a week, and with a contract that requires adequate protective gear.
Months later, Prasad – and the stakes – owe even more to the willingness to move nurses. In Sioux Falls, South Dakota, nurses can earn more than $ 6,200 a week. A recent posting for a job in Fargo, North Dakota, offered more than $ 8,000 a week. Some can be as much as $ 10,000.
Hospitals have long relied on traveling nurses to fill nurses without hiring them. Early in the epidemic, doctors and nurses traveled to hot spots from unaffected areas such as California, Washington State, and New York to help with regional areas. But now, medical professionals facing growth in virtually every part of the country have been infected in the process – competition for the finite number of available nurses is becoming more intense.
“We all thought, ‘Well, when it’s Colorado’s turn, we’ll draw on the same resources; we’ll call the states around us and they’ll send help,” said Julie Lomborg, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Hospital Association. “Now it’s a national outbreak. It’s not just one or two spots, as it was in the spring. It’s really important across the country, which means everyone is looking for those resources.”
Jordan Sorenson, a project manager at the Utah Hospital Association, said that all of Utah’s major health care systems have left nurses to visit nurses.
“Nurses quit jobs, join travel nursing companies and work for a different hospital down the road, at a rate of two to three times.” “So, this is really a kind of Rob-Peter-to-Pay-Paul staffing situation.”
Sorenson said that hospitals not only pay the high salaries paid to the traveling nurses, but also pay commissions to the travel nurses agency. Utah hospitals are trying to avoid hiring nurses from other hospitals in the state. Renting from a neighboring state such as Colorado, however, may mean Colorado hospitals move out of Utah.
Litwin said he is looking into the labor market rewarding essential workers. Under normal circumstances, the market allows it to determine where people will work and for which salaries are ideal.
“On the other hand, we are not operating under normal conditions,” he said. “In the midst of a serious public health crisis, I worry that personal incentives in front of hospitals on the one hand and individual RNs on the other conflict increasingly with the needs of society as a whole.”
Some hospitals are looking for ways to overcome staffing challenges without blowing up the budget. This may involve changing the nurse-to-patient ratio, although this will affect patient care. In Utah, the Hospital Association has spoken with the state nursing board to allow nursing students to become certified early in their final year of training.
Meanwhile, business is booming for companies focused on health care staffing such as Wanderley and Crucial Staffing.
Dean said the company has doubled its workforce since the epidemic began. Demand is on the rise – with the Rocky Mountain states appearing as job postings on the site several times until January. More people are meeting that demand.
Competition for nurses, especially those with ICU experience, is stiff. After all, a hospital in South Dakota is not competing with facilities in other states.
“We have sent nurses to Aruba, Bahamas and Curacao because they need help with COVID,” Dean said. “You’re going there, you’re making $ 5,000 a week and all your expenses are paid, right? Who’s going to say no, yeah?”
“Right now we are at our highest volume,” Cleary said, adding that nearly 1,000 nurses joined the roster of “reservoir” over the Halloween weekend alone.
Amber Hazard, who lives in Texas, started as a traveling ICU nurse before the epidemic and said that eye-catching sums come with hidden fees like this, paid in chastity.
“How your soul is affected by this, there is nothing you can put a price on,” he said.
In a high-paying job caring for COVID patients during New York’s first wave, she remembers walking into the break room at a hospital in the Bronx and seeing a sign on the wall about how the general staff nurse was on strike.
“It said, you know, ‘We’re not doing this. It’s not safe,” Hazard said. “And it was not safe. But someone had to do it.”
The charm of his stature was putting a wedding ring back on the finger of a recovered patient. But Hazard said he secured more body bags than rings on patients.
Tripeni, a traveling nurse leaving Colorado, is now working with heart surgery patients in Kentucky. When that contract ends, she said, she can dive back into COVID care.
Earlier, in New Jersey, she was terrified of the times she could not give people the care they needed, not to mention the time she would take a dead patient from a ventilator, damage to the virus. Will, as she removes the tube. Filled with black blood from lungs.
Unlike when he was on staff at a hospital, he has to pay for mental health therapy. But as a so-called traveler, she knows that each gig will end in a few weeks.
At the end of each week in New Jersey, she said, “I’ll just look at my salary and ‘OK. It’s fine. I can do that.”
KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a non-profit news service covering health issues. This is an editorial independent program KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation) which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.