Hospitals Competing for Nurses as US Coronavirus Cases Surge

December 4, 2020 by Christen Aldrich

Filed under COVID-19 for Employers, COVID-19 for the Workforce, Recruitment & Volunteers

Last modified December 23, 2020

According to this article from Associated Press News, medical administrators are scrambling to find enough nursing help for the COVID surges and hospitalizations, especially in rural areas and at small hospitals. Nurses are also being trained to provide care in fields where they have limited experience. Hospitals are scaling back services to ensure they have enough staff to handle critically ill patients. And health systems are turning to short-term travel nurses to help fill the gaps.

Adding to the already massive strain, experienced nurses are “burned out with this whole (pandemic)” and some are quitting, said Kevin Fitzpatrick, an emergency room nurse at Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan. Fitzpatrick mentioned several of his fellow nurses left just in the past month to work in hospice or home care or at outpatient clinics. “And replacing them is not easy,” he said.

Because the pandemic is surging just about everywhere in the country, hospitals across the nation are competing for the same pool of nurses, offering pay ranging from $1,500 a week to more than $5,000, said April Hansen, executive vice president at San Diego-based Aya Healthcare, which recruits and deploys travel nurses. She said demand for their services has more than doubled since the early days of the pandemic, when the greatest need was in hot spots like New York and New Jersey and then moved to southern states. In recent weeks the virus has been spiking across the country, with the new hot spots in places like the rural upper Midwest and southern-border communities such as El Paso, Texas.

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