COVID-19 Creates Spike in Demand, Pay for Travel Nurses

COVID-19 Creates Spike in Demand, Pay for Travel Nurses

There is a nationwide call for travel nurses during the COVID-19 pandemic, and with the demand comes offers of substantial financial compensation for those willing to care for patients under conditions of extreme risk. Across the US—especially in states such as California, New York, and Washington—crisis pay for travel nurses is at record highs. The increased pay is tied to the rising hazard of working during the pandemic, but travel nurses are at least receiving better compensation for the risks they take.

Nationwide, travel nurse pay has risen by 76%, and has gone up by as much as 90% in Washington state, the original hotspot of COVID-19. Further, the healthcare industry news site HIT Consultant states that “Hospitals are paying Crisis/Pandemic rates up to $4,400 weekly to quickly staff up for the caring of COVID-19 patients.”

Demand for registered travel nurses, already high before the pandemic struck, is also spiking. Massachusetts, in which demand has quadrupled, appears to be in the greatest need so far, and demand has doubled in California and New York. The latter two states also display the sharpest rise in pay, although Washington is still the location offering the highest salaries. On average, according to HIT Consultant, pay for emergency department nurses has almost quadrupled with the spread of the pandemic.

Among the travel nurse positions hospitals are trying to fill, ICU RNs, ED RNs, and Respiratory Therapists are particularly coveted. NuWest Group, a staffing company placing travel nurses in New York, says that they are “Urgently staffing ICU and Respiratory therapist travel nurses for NYC Health and Hospitals.”

CNBC notes that “As demand spikes, staffing agencies are offering unprecedented incentives for nurses willing to enter hot zones” and cites staffing agency NuWest as offering travel nurses as much as $10,000 in crisis pay, with relocation bonuses and tax-free housing and food.

For an extensive assessment of the market for travel nurses right now, see this story on HIT Consultant.

Nurse of the Week: Seattle Nurse Karin Huster Says Battling Ebola Outbreaks in Africa Is “The Best Job in the World”

Nurse of the Week: Seattle Nurse Karin Huster Says Battling Ebola Outbreaks in Africa Is “The Best Job in the World”

Our Nurse of the Week is Karin Huster, a Seattle-based nurse and field coordinator for Doctors Without Borders. Huster spends six to 12 weeks at a time away from home, helping the world’s most vulnerable populations. Most recently she was in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) helping battle Ebola outbreaks.

Even though she regularly encounters dying patients, Huster tells seattletimes.com, “It’s the best job in the world. And I don’t mean this lightly…My goal in life is nothing else but to try to improve people’s lives.”

Ebola has killed over 2,000 individuals and sickened almost 3,000 individuals in the DRC since August 2018. The World Health Organization declared the outbreak a global health emergency in July 2019 while Huster was on her fourth trip there.

Helping those in need has been Huster’s dream since she was a child. She grew up on Réunion Island, a French island in the Indian Ocean, and in 1991 she moved to Seattle for a job translating English to French for Microsoft. Feeling unfulfilled, she left her job at Microsoft to enroll in nursing school at the University of Washington (UW). She spent eight years as a nurse in the intensive care unit at Harborview Medical Center before going back to UW to earn her master’s degree in global health. In 2012, Huster went to Lebanon on a trip with UW to work with Syrian refugees. It was there that she found her passion for traveling to help the world’s most vulnerable populations.

To learn more about Karin Huster, a Seattle-based nurse and field coordinator for Doctors Without Borders who considers her job battling Ebola outbreaks in Africa the “best job in the world,” visit here.  

Washington State University Health Sciences Students Learn Team Approach to Opioid Addiction

Washington State University Health Sciences Students Learn Team Approach to Opioid Addiction

Washington State University (WSU) Health Sciences Spokane is teaching students in its medicine, pharmacy, and nursing programs how to care for patients suffering from opioid addiction. A two-hour class developed by faculty at the university will teach teamwork and communication to provide an effective approach to treatment for these sensitive patients.

The Washington Department of Health funded the development of the program. Almost 350 students from WSU and Eastern Washington University took the class in January and February. WSU will eventually be making the curriculum freely available online to any university that wants to offer the curriculum to its health sciences students and a follow-up grant will allow the university to adapt the material for use by rural health clinics. 

Barbara Richardson, PhD, RN, an associate clinical professor in WSU’s Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, tells news.wsu.edu, “We know that a lot of times when patients run into problems with opioids its because there’s poor communication on the health care team. People can fall through the cracks; our goal is to build a system where the cracks don’t exist.”

The curriculum on how to create a team approach to opioid addiction covers roles and responsibilities, appropriate language, and conveying patient information to other members of an interprofessional healthcare team. To learn more about Washington State University’s new curriculum for teaching a team approach to opioid addiction to health sciences students, visit here

Native American and Alaska Native High School Students Explore Careers in Nursing Through Summer Institute

Native American and Alaska Native High School Students Explore Careers in Nursing Through Summer Institute

Washington State University (WSU) Health Sciences Spokane has invited seventeen Native American and Alaska Native high school students from multiple states to attend the 24th annual Na-ha-shnee Summer Institute. The attendees are rising sophomore, junior, and senior students who plan to pursue careers in nursing and health science. 

The Na-ha-shnee Summer Institute is a 12-day event where students learn about a range of health science topics and receive college admissions information. They are fully immersed in scientific challenges and receive hands-on learning experiences taught by health care providers, faculty at WSU Health Sciences Spokane, and health sciences college students.

Topics covered during the Institute include anatomy, timely information on opioid addiction and response, basic nursing skills training and simulation, and a visit to the university’s pharmacy lab. Students will also receive CPR and first aid certification and are eligible to receive up to 65 Career and Technical Education (CTE) credits after completing their twelve days at the Institute.

To learn more about Washington State University’s Na-ha-shnee Summer Institute where seventeen Native American and Alaska Native high school students from multiple states have met to learn about a range of health science and nursing topics, visit here

University of Washington Offers Doctor of Nursing Practice and Master of Public Health Dual Degree Program

University of Washington Offers Doctor of Nursing Practice and Master of Public Health Dual Degree Program

The University of Washington (UW) has announced a new dual degree program offering a Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) in Population Health and Master of Public Health (MPH) in Global Health. The three- to four-year program aims to expand the skills of public health nurses and nurse scholars to work in partnership with populations and health systems to ultimately improve access to health care and help achieve health for all.

Pamela Kohler, associate professor with the UW Departments of Global Health, Psychosocial and Community Health, and Schools of Public Health and Nursing, tells Washington.edu, “Graduates of the new concurrent degree program will be equipped to lead sustainable change in collaboration with health systems, communities, and populations; and will have the skills to evaluate program and policy impact.”

The DNP program will prepare registered nurses for advanced practice roles, nursing leadership, and the application of evidence-based decision-making models to nursing practice. The MPH in global health will provide social justice and practical skills-based frameworks for achieving health equity through partnerships with a focus on health conditions that transcend borders.

Students must complete two sets of degree requirements to earn both degrees and can apply to both programs at the same time or to the second program at a later date. To learn more about the University of Washington’s new dual degree program offering a Doctor of Nursing Practice and Master of Public Health, visit here.

University of Washington Invites High School Students to Nurse Camp

University of Washington Invites High School Students to Nurse Camp

The University of Washington (UW) School of Nursing is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its Nurse Camp program for high school students. The week-long camp originally grew out of a need to encourage more first-generation and minority college students to pursue nursing degrees.

Carolyn Chow, co-director of the UW Nurse Camp and director of admissions and student diversity for the School of Nursing, tells Washington.edu, “We had to figure out how to effectively reach applicants earlier with more supportive resources and experiences to learn about nursing as a career option. They love the camp because it’s an opportunity to connect directly with nursing student mentors and professional nurses. And it’s an opportunity for us as a school to have a clear impact on diversifying the next generation of nurses.”

Throughout the week of sessions, students learn a variety of nursing skills including hands-on training in CPR, hand washing, infection control, recording vital signs, and more. Campers also learn from current students in the School of Nursing’s recently opened simulation center, providing a mutually beneficial leadership development program for current UW nursing students.

As part of Nurse Camp, students also attend sessions to learn about financial aid and scholarships to help them prepare for college admissions. To date, about 98 percent of camp alumni have gone to college afterward. The Nurse Camp program is free to campers thanks to private donations.

To learn more about the University of Washington’s Nurse Camp for high school students to learn about nursing as a degree and career option, visit here.

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