Travel nurses aren't returning to their old jobs

Rather than return to their former hospital jobs, some travel nurses are leaving the field altogether as demand for travel nurses comes back down from unprecedented highs during the pandemic, NBC News reported Sept. 3

In January 2020, right before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were about 50,000 travel nurses in the U.S., officials from Staffing Industry Analysts told the news outlet. That number doubled to at least 100,0000 as the coronavirus began spreading. Lucrative travel pay led to many hospital staff nurses leaving their jobs. 

 Now, nurses who once earned $5,000 or more a week on travel assignments earn less than half of that as demand for travel nurses drops. Citing data from staffing firm Aya Healthcare, NBC reports that travel nurse demand dropped 42 percent from January to July of this year. 

 But the drop in demand and pay isn't luring all travel nurses back to their old hospital jobs. The news outlet spoke to nine travel nurses across the U.S. who are now considering alternate career paths. Some said they are starting their own businesses, and others are studying for advanced degrees to leave bedside nursing. 

 Nurses who want to leave the field point to patient safety concerns amid growing work loads. 

 "People say it's burnout but it's not," Pamela Esmond, RN, who became a travel nurse during the pandemic, told NBC. "It's the moral injury of watching patients not being taken care of on a day-to-day basis. You just can't take it anymore." 

 Ms. Esmond, 59, plans to continue working as a travel nurse until she retires at 65. 

 "I would love to go back to staff nursing, but on my staff job, I would never be able to retire." 

 Click here to read the full story. 

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