Nurses follow higher pay from ‘travel nursing’

There are a variety of causes for the shortage, from early retirements to the pandemic.
Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 11:43 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Nurses are shouldering an unimaginable share of the COVID care burden and they’re getting burned out.

They’re deciding to retire early or leave the profession altogether. And as a result, we are experiencing the worst nursing shortage in recent history.

Emily Arnold, 24, started her nursing career the month the COVID pandemic started in 2020. She says it was a scary time for all frontline workers before the vaccine was available.

”It was just a high-stress situation for everybody as we figured it out,” she said.

Arnold says she was always interested in travel nursing but the pandemic associated stress that came with a hospital staff position pushed her into it sooner. Travel nursing supplies nurses who travel to work in temporary nursing positions, mostly in hospitals.

Now Arnold is on assignment in Colorado and loves the ability to have more flexibility with her job and the ability to recharge from the stress of caring for COVID patients in between assignments.

According to Dr. Linda Lewandowski, the Dean of the College of Nursing at the University of Toledo, the current nursing shortage is expected to last at least until 2030. Travel nursing is becoming a very attractive option for a lot of nurses.

“I know that travel nurses are making maybe $3,000 a week, something that is just not going to happen in a hospital. They can’t compete with those prices,” Lewandowski said.

But Lewandowski says despite the current trend, nursing schools are seeing an uptick, with a record number of applications to nursing schools.

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