Need a Kovid Nurse? It will be $ 8,000 per week

Denver – In March, Claire Tripeni was watching her dream job crumble. She was working as an intensive care nurse at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Lakewood, Colorado, and loved it despite being paid mediocrity for the area. But when Kovid-19 hit, that count changed.

She tells her employers to remember her and her colleagues to “suck it up” as they each struggled to take care of six patients and taped their protective gear with tape until it was completely different. Does not happen. 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 where my skills are needed and I can be guaranteed that I need my protection.’

Full coverage of coronavirus outbreaks

In April, she packed her bag for a two-month contract in New Jersey, then traveled to a suburban Denver hospital for a Kovid-19 hot spot called a “mass exodus” of 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 get as much as $ 10,000.

At the onset of the epidemic, hospitals competed for ventilators, Kovid-19 tests and personal protective equipment. Now, sites across the country are competing for nurses. The drop in Kovid-19 cases has turned hospital staff into a kind of national bidding war, with hospitals being prepared to pay nurses who need nurses. This threatens rural and urban public hospitals to shift supplies of nurses to areas with fewer staff, as the epidemic worsens and some hospitals are unable to care for critically ill patients.

“It’s a huge threat,” said Angelina Salazar, CEO of the Western Healthcare Alliance, a consortium of 29 small hospitals in rural Colorado and Utah. “There is no way rural hospitals can offer that kind of salary.”

Increased capacity

Hospitals have long relied on travel 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, in almost every part of the country facing growth – infecting medical professionals 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 similar resources. We’ll call the states around us, and they’ll send help,” Julie Lomborg, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Hospital Association said. . “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, meaning everyone is looking for those resources.”

In North Dakota, Tessa Johnson said she is receiving several messages a day on LinkedIn from headhunters. Johnson, president of the North Dakota Nurses Association, said the epidemic is closing the brain drain of nurses there. He suspects that the government may opt to leave more nurses or retire early after the government. Doug Bergam told health care workers that even though he tested positive for Kovid-19.

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 commission to the traveling 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.

Adam Seth Litwin, an associate in industrial and labor relations at Cornell University, said, “In view of the current spike in Kovid’s hospitals, it makes sense to call registered nurses to the labor market for ‘severed throats’.” “Even if the health care sector can somehow get more beds, it can’t just go out and buy more front-line carers.”

Litwin said he is looking forward to rewarding workers needed for the labor market. 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. “Amidst a severe 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 to the state’s board of nursing about allowing nursing students to become certified early in the final year of nursing.

Demand in Rocky Mountain States

Meanwhile, business is booming for companies focused on health care staffing, such as Wanderley and Crucial Staffing.

“When Kovid first debuted and New York was an epicenter, we looked at it like Wanderley and said, ‘Well, this is our time to shine,” said David Dean, senior vice president of Wanderly, a website that provides information on health. Is for Take care of professionals to compare offers from different agencies. “It’s our time to help nurses get to these sites as soon as possible. And help recruiters get those nurses.”

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Dean said the company has doubled its workforce since the epidemic began. Demand is increasing – with Rocky Mountain states appearing as many job postings as of 20 times in January. More people are meeting that demand.

In 2018, according to data from a national survey, about 31,000 visiting nurses worked nationwide. Now, Dean estimates, there are at least 50,000 itinerant nurses. Many of the deans, who call the traveling nurses “superheroes”, are postoperative nurses who were shut down when their hospitals stopped performing elective surgeries during the first lockdown.

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 Kovid,” Dean said. “You’re going there, you’re making $ 5,000 a week and all your expenses are paid, right? Who’s not going to say?”

Crucial staffing specializes in sending healthcare workers to disaster locations using military-style logistics. It filled hotels and hired dozens of buses to bring nurses to hot spots in New York and Texas. CEO Brian Cleary said that, since the epidemic began, the company has increased its administrative staff from 12 to 200.

“Right now we’re at our highest volume,” Cleary said, adding that over the Halloween weekend alone, about 1,000 nurses joined the roster of the “reservoir”.

With a base rate of $ 95 per hour, he said, some nurses working overtime are coming away with $ 10,000 a week, though there are downsides, such as gigs that do not come with health insurance and this is a volatile, bounce – Hai and Bust Market.

hidden costs

Amber Hazard, who lives in Texas, began as a visiting ICU nurse before the epidemic, saying 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.

She remembers walking into the break room at a hospital in the Bronx in a high-paying job caring for Kovid-19 patients during the first wave of New York and sees a sign on the wall about general staff nurses going 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 holding back a wedding ring on the finger of a recovered patient. But Hazard said he secured more body bags than rings on patients.

Traveler Tripney, who left Colorado, is now working with heart surgery patients in Kentucky. When that contract ends, she said, she can dive back into Kovid-19 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 deliver, as she removes the tube. Filled with black blood from lungs.

While he was on staff at the hospital, he has to pay for mental health therapy out of pocket. 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 say ‘Okay. It’s fine. I can do that.’

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