Travel nurses who are willing to go to COVID-19 hotspots are in high demand and earning higher pay than ever before. Hotspots such as California, Washington, and New York are desperately recruiting travel nurses to help cover the burdens the tidal wave of COVID-19 has brought to their facilities and communities.

Higher Risk Means Nurses Receive Higher Pay

Increases in pay for travel nursing contracts have never been higher, because of the risks and hazards associated with working directly with COVID-19 patients. New York, in particular, is working hard to bring travel nurses into their fold, reportedly offering $10,000 per week for crisis COVID-19 positions.

According to the HIT Consultant, a medical care industry news site, travel pay for nurses during the pandemic has statistically risen between 76%-90% over the average weekly pay to compensate for the risk and burden travel nurses in the pandemic hotspots will endure.

Exponential Growth in the Travel Nursing Industry

HIT Consultant provided the following breakdown of the top states that are seeing exponential growth of demand in the nursing industry, and it is startling. The states with the biggest jumps in demand for nurses include the following, some may be surprising like Hawaii and Mississippi, while others have been notable for a while such as New York, California, and Washington. Massachusetts, Hawaii, and Mississippi have reportedly a quadrupled demand, while Washington, Delaware, and Rhode Island have increased threefold, and California, New Jersey, and New York have all doubled in demand.

Elite Specialty Staffing has launched a COVID 19 crisis portal page to notify their travel nurses who want to help where they are needed most, of job assignments exactly when they become available. If you are interested in working the front lines, follow this link and fill out the contact form to be notified about COVID 19 job assignments.

COVID-19 Creates Less of a Demand for Certain Types of Healthcare Workers

While the pandemic has certainly created higher demand for medical professionals who are specialized or certified in respiratory issues, emergency response, infection control, and intensive and critical care; it has tipped the scales out of balance.

Medical professionals certified in other specialties are seeing another devastating impact on their businesses. State governments across the nation are asking doctor practices and hospitals to cease elective procedures and testing and the drop of incoming patients for non-emergency care is drastic, even in, or especially in, pandemic hotspots such as Massachusetts.

According to NPR:

Atrius Health, the largest independent physician group in Massachusetts, says patient volume is down 75% since mid-March. It is temporarily closing offices, placing many nonclinical employees on furlough and withholding pay for those who remain. The average withholding is 20%, and the company pledges that pay withheld will be returned. The lowest-paid workers, those earning up to $55,000, are exempt.”

US healthcare giant, Steward Healthcare headquartered in Dallas, has medical facilities and hospitals in nine different states, released a statement saying the “seismic financial shock” as a result of the COVID 19 crisis that has led people to understandably cancel or delay elective procedures and surgeries would result in a “targeted, temporary furlough program”.

Catholic healthcare system, Bon Secours Mercy Health headquartered in Cincinnati has facilities and staff in seven states has also announced furloughs, reportedly their system is losing $100 million per month. Ballad Health, healthcare system that serves Tennessee and Southwest Virginia have also announced news of furloughs to its staff. Beaumont, a very successful healthcare system in Michigan typically earns $16 million a month but is currently losing $100 million.

It’s not only big industry healthcare that is struggling financially. Consider private family practices, gynecology practices, pediatrics. The list goes on, and the smaller practices will struggle to weather the storm just as much as the big systems. Because the income revenue of smaller practices is on such a smaller scale, the losses that they can withstand are much smaller as well.

Furloughs and Layoffs

So many hospitals across the nation are laying off and furloughing workers, that it is hard to keep track of. As the pandemic hotspots shift, and facilities run out of money, hard decisions are being made. Click this link for a list of hospitals and medical systems making these cuts, the list is updated daily.

Many of these hospitals and healthcare systems with furloughs and layoffs are limiting the target of those cuts to administrative staff and nonessential staff, although unfortunately, nurses are part of the layoffs and furloughs in some cases. Reportedly by the middle of April, as our number of COVID 19 cases rose, so did the number of Americans filing for unemployment, to a startling 22 million.

As our healthcare system struggles to endure the pandemic, far-reaching consequences are coming to pass. But nurses have been working under difficult conditions since before the pandemic hit, we have weathered storms before of other outbreaks, of the never-ending staffing shortages, and we will endure here too.

The economy will recover, because it must because people will always have needs. The profession of nursing is more important than ever, and if you don’t want to be working the front lines in COVID 19 hotspots, there are still other travel nursing jobs available. Click here to review our job postings and see if there is something that fits your qualifications and needs.

Layoffs and furloughs may be happening, but across the nation, there are still people who need medical care. Medical facilities and hospitals who still need travel nurses to fill vacancies, to relieve staffing shortage burdens, and to bring new energies and fresh perspectives. That is what travel nurses have always done, and even now, or maybe especially now, that is what people need you to continue to do.

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Written by Miranda Booher, RN

As a twelve-year Registered Nurse with a healthy background in travel nursing and healthcare marketing, Miranda brings an interesting combination of stellar copywriting skills and first-hand nursing experience to the table. Miranda understands the industry and has a impeccable ability to write about it. And speaking of travel - Miranda currently lives in Uruguay, though she maintains an active Registered Nurse license in the state of Ohio and stays current on the latest healthcare news through her writing. When she is not creating killer copy, or serving others through her work as a nurse, you can find her hanging out on the beach with her loyal husband, three crazy kids, and their beautiful German Shepherd-Husky dog.

During the COVID-19 Pandemic, We're Sending RNs Nationwide to Help. Check Out Our Emergency Response Initiative, COVID RN Jobs, & Travel Nurse Resources

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