Sep 6, 2022 - Health

Travel nurses start to leave the field after pandemic hiring boom

Illustration of a red suitcase with a medical cross on the side

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

Nurses lured by the promise of big paychecks for travel gigs during the pandemic are starting to follow other nurses in leaving the profession, NBC News reports.

Why it matters: Gaps in the health care workforce are a growing concern as longtime employees, particularly nurses and others on the front lines, have begun leaving the field.

  • Travel nurses, meant to be a temporary fix, have become a major cost for hospitals at the same time their employees are increasingly mobilizing for increased pay and benefits.

But as the strain from COVID has dissipated and demand for travelers has fallen, those nurses aren't necessarily going back to their old jobs at facilities, unions and nurses said.

  • "People say it's burnout but it's not," Pamela Esmond, a traveler nurse from northern Illinois said, per 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."
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