Travel nurses say the current healthcare system is “unsustainable” as COVID-19 infections rise again. Some say pay is the only thing that keeps them on the front lines.
Frontline workers have faced waves of COVID-19 cases over the past two years.
The pandemic has created demand for travel nurses as hospitals grapple with staff shortages.
Some traveling nurses are considering leaving the profession, calling the system unsustainable.
Travel nurses have been in high demand as hospitals across the country face a wave after a wave of COVID-19 and struggle with staff shortage, but some nurses say the current health care system is “unsustainable.”
To cope with staff shortages, hospitals attract mobile nurses with well-paid contracts. In some areas, traveling nurses earn more than doctors.
“The hospital I work in right now was so understaffed and overwhelmed that I make more money than surgeons,” Tayler Oakes, a travel nurse, told Insider.
But Oakes said this system is not sustainable. She told Insider that while she loves taking care of patients, she is exhausted and the only thing that currently keeps her in her bedside role is the salary.
“I think the money keeps a lot of us in the industry, which is also a cause of great concern that is not sustainable at all,” she said.
The compensation has caused some nurses to quit their posts to follow the money in the travel nurse business, Taylor Dilick, a travel nurse in South Carolina, told Insider. She said the lack of adequate pay for staff nurses, alongside working conditions, has led to a “mass exodus” of staff nurses who have taken on more lucrative travel positions.
Oakes said that some the problems plaguing the industry had been going on since before the the pandemic struck two years ago, but the steady increase in COVID-19 cases has just exacerbated them.
“I never see myself not being a nurse, but I don’t know how long a body can handle the work we do at the bedside 12 hours a day,” she said. “How long can your emotional and mental health be sustained by seeing people dying all the time from preventable things.
She added, “I think people just don’t understand what healthcare workers see. Like, I mean imagine seeing people dying all day every day and you’re supposed to go out and have dinner. “
Nurses previously told Insider that while officials warn of a slight increase in hospitalizations due to the spread of the Omicron variant across the country, they the impression that they live in the movie “Groundhog Day”.
While many were optimistic that with the vaccine rollout last year cases would decrease and the strain on the healthcare system would ease, they instead found themselves in what appears to be a never-ending loop.
The pandemic has has prompted many nurses to consider leaving the profession. A Trusted Health online survey surveyed in March with more than 1,000 mobile nurses found that 67% of them said they did not believe the health system was prioritizing the mental health and well-being of nurses.
Additionally, of the 46% of those surveyed who said they felt less engaged in nursing, almost half said they were considering leaving the profession and 25% said they were looking for a job. out of nursing or planning to retire.
Nikki Motta, another travel nurse, told Insider she has more work on her plate with fewer nurses available and more in demand for them. Although she may only have one in three patients to care for personally, she said she often has to help other nurses who have just graduated or who are not specifically trained. to treat COVID-19 patients.
It adds to the mental and physical exhaustion she feels, she said. Motta already said Insider that she is considering leaving bedside care due to stress.
“I think health systems need to understand that nurses are valuable and that they are an integral part of health systems and would not work without them,” Motta said.
Read the original article on Business intern