In the US, a shortage of nurses in hospitals due to their high salaries

In the US, a shortage of nurses in hospitals due to their high salaries

The health crisis increased the value of medical personnel, but it has also led to their shortages.

Photo: Anna Shvets / Pexels

The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the job market for nurses and other medical personnel in United States. As the virus spread in 2020 and emergency rooms became saturated with sick patients, thousands of hospital employees were drawn to the high salaries and the opportunity to help the hardest hit communities, although there were also those who left the profession afterwards. months of treating critically ill patients, published The Wall Street Journal.

Travel nurses’ incomes skyrocketed, largely due to high demand for their services and because salaries are paid in part with federal emergency funds for hospitals. In 2019 the average gross salary for a travel nurse was around $ 1,600 per week, but a year later the average salary increased to more than $ 3,500 per weekaccording to Vivian Health, a health services contracting company.

The high incomes caused by the health crisis are compounding the shortage of permanent medical personnel throughout the country, which was already registered before the pandemic and extends to all areas of the health system. Worst of all, hospitals expect the trend to persist after the pandemic is under control.

The National Institutes of Health estimate that there was a shortage of about a million nurses in the United States in 2020.

Additional pressure from the pandemic and high pay rates for traveling nurses could prompt a permanent readjustment of salaries for all nurses, warned April Kapu, president of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners.

“This pandemic has highlighted how important nurses are to the workforce, so aligning your salary with the market is more important than ever, because nurses are going to expect that,” Kapu said.

Some hospitals offer very generous bonuses to nurses who are accepting Longer assignments: $ 40,000 at Monument Health Hospital in Rapid City, SD; $ 20,000 at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia; and $ 10,000 at St. Charles Health in Bend, Oregon.

“Once the nurses are done with a crisis contract, they don’t want to go back to the bedside where they know they will be understaffed and underpaid,” said Rachel Norton, an Albany RN.

Before the pandemic Ivette Palomeque earned $ 45 an hour on a flexible schedule as an intensive care nurse at Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston.

Today, earns $ 120 per hour working in McAllen, Texas, the latest in a series of “travel nurse” jobs she has held for the past 16 months. She plans to work on well-paying crisis contracts while she can.

“Going back to a staff job is just not an option,” says Palomeque, 45. “Absolutely not.”

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