SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — The number of nurses turning to traveling positions has been increasing since COVID-19 cases overwhelmed healthcare systems, according to reports by Bloomberg Wealth. One registered nurse in Syracuse, Morel Anderson, was not afraid to uplift her roots, leave town and see what the hype was all about.
“I was actually on a crisis contract which is a little different from regular travel nursing contract,” said Anderson. “I was hired through FEMA and was working for the state of Texas.”
A small Texas hospital became Anderson’s home for the next month while she worked 72 hours a week. She said many of her peers have made the same move and have the same workload.
“A lot of my classmates have done what I am doing,” said Anderson. “So, yeah, a good [number] of us, the newer generation, I should say.”
Other hospital staff nurses say it doesn’t even come as a surprise to them anymore. That was the case for labor and delivery nurse Rhoda Smith.
“Since I started in nursing there’s definitely been an increase of nurses that have left as what we say staff positions and gone to travel,” Smith said. “So it doesn’t shock me when you hear about another nurse who’s leaving to travel.”
Anderson said a travel nurse’s salary is determined by the city’s cost of living.
“So say a city like Syracuse isn’t going to have as high of a wage as maybe New York City or another big city just because cost of living, trying to find a place to stay, so forth and so on,” said Anderson. “So I would never make the money I would make in Syracuse or in Utica, Binghamton, I would never make as much as I would in say New York City. Let’s just say that my salary for last year, I made half my salary last year in four weeks as a travel nurse.”
Benefits so good that Anderson said she probably won’t go back to staff nursing until she has a need for those specific benefits or insurance for her future dependents. But until then, the long days and long nights are all worth it to Anderson, who wants to put the money toward finishing her degree.
“I decided to kind of put myself in a better financial position so I wouldn’t have to take out more loans and took travel contracting instead,” said Anderson. “So I am back in school.”