Coronavirus hot spots need nurses to help, travel nurses answer call

Nursing staffs are being stretched to a breaking point trying to deal with the influx of patients diagnosed with COVID-19.

Emergency room nurses at CHI St. Alexius Health in Bismarck, North Dakota, are working long or extra shifts to cover the need, caring for more patients than they should be, The Washington Post discovered.

The hospital is not alone. But there is staffing available that can lighten the burden somewhat, but more is needed.

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Travel nurses, or nurses who travel across the country, are filling the void when and where they are needed.

The jobs come with a premium pay rate.

NurseFly, an online clearinghouse for travel nurses, lists opportunities and estimated weekly pay packages.

One job in Augusta, Georgia, in an intensive care unit has an estimated weekly pay of $5,136.

A position in Illinois will pay an estimated rate of $4,645 a week.

NurseFly has more than 10,000 jobs posted for ICU nurses and more than 45,000 jobs for nursing positions across specialties.

Another travel nurse agency, Aya Healthcare said it has never seen as many available positions in the past 15 years, as it’s seeing now, KTVK reported.

Aya Healthcare has more than 34,000 jobs listed across the country.

One client in New York needed 1,000 to 2,000 nurses in the next month, Sophia Morris, Aya Healthcare’s vice president of Account Management, told KTVK.

KOAT reported that the travel nurses help take some of the pressure off of the permanent nursing staff and they bring experience with them.

The lack of staffing can also be too much for some to handle.

“That puts a lot more stress on nurses, not just physically, but psychologically. We have seen health care workers come down with PTSDm and it’s really difficult taking care of patients that are this sick,” University of New Mexico Hospital chief nursing officer Patti Kelley told KOAT.

More coronavirus pandemic coverage:

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>> How to not let coronavirus pandemic fatigue set in, battle back if it does

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