Hospitals could see higher demand for travel nurses, here’s why

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The daily demand hospitals with covid patients face has forced facilities to enlist extra help. 26 year old Lexington native, Justin Gasser is a travel nurse and has been one for about six months. He’s currently on his 13-week second assignment in St. Louis, Missouri. Prior to that, he was in Miami, Florida.

“You kind of have to adjust quickly. While you’re trying to figure out how the place is working, how they work with their patients and with their staff, you’re also dealing with really sick patients,” explains Gasser.

Gasser says under staffing was an issue in hospitals before covid. The virus has just made things worse, especially with hospitals strained to their limits with so many patients.
It’s increased the competition for staff, putting travel nurses even more in demand. That, in turn has raised the stakes in terms of wages and sometimes lures nurses into hitting the road for more pay. The result can be more burn out and stress on nurses left at home, creating what some say is a dangerous cycle.

“That’s why a lot of nurses are leaving their staff jobs right now because they’re seeing the advance of seeing the country and being a travel nurse but make more than what they’re making at home,” says Gasser.

In the long run, Gasser believes the cycle can have positive long-term results as hospitals and medical providers begin to find ways to better compensate their front-line workers.

“You can’t pay people this much more and then after the pandemic is gone you can’t expect them to get paid less,” states Gasser.

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