Some Vermont hospitals cutting travel nurses amid rising financial pressures

Several Vermont hospitals are cutting travel nurses, instead aiming to replace them with full-time employees as the pandemic increases financial pressure and exacerbates workforce shortages, reports VTDigger. 

Brattleboro (Vt.) Memorial Hospital has been cutting the expensive contract nurses and instead turning to former employees and local help.

"The nursing shortage is huge, so you have to put in this effort," said Jodi Stack, RN, the hospital's chief nursing officer.

In the spring of 2018, about 10 percent of the hospital's nurses were travel nurses. This year, the hospital said goodbye to the last traveling nurse, Ms. Stack said. 

Other state health officials are partnering with nursing schools, increasing wages and providing education reimbursements to bring nurses to Vermont and keep them in the state. A state bill recently passed created $1.6 million in scholarships for nursing and other medical students, while also making it easier for out-of-state nurses to receive licensure in Vermont. 

The pandemic has increased both price and demand for  traveling nurses. Hospitals in hot spots have boosted recruitment, and pay for traveling nurses has risen as much as six times the typical traveler nurse salary.  

A traveling nurse's salary is only part of what a hospital spends, according to Ms. Stack. Hospitals also must cover the costs of training, onboarding and turnover, she said.

"It's a strain on our resources," Ms. Stack said.

More articles on nursing:
More than half of nurses who died of COVID-19 are people of color, nurse union says
From housekeeper to NP: How this nurse leader climbed the ranks at Baystate Medical Center
10 hospitals hiring chief nursing officers

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