Hospitals pay hundreds per hour for travelling nurses, but still not enough to staff hospitals during COVID surge


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – A nationwide bidding war for traveling nurses is underway as hospitalizations are surging.  Already hospitals are paying hundreds of dollars per hour and still it is not enough to keep hospital floors staffed.

Traveling nurses are in such high demand that hospitals are shelling out upwards of $200 to $250 per hour, but as soon as the next best offer comes, traveling nurses pack their bags and head out to chase the money.

Terri Church, Chief Nursing Officer at Dignity Health has seen them come and go, leaving her team of nurses to juggle and shuffle patients around as more continue to walk through the door.

“Quite frankly staffing is a challenge for every shift for all three of our campuses,” said Church. 

Church points out that nurses are growing tired from having to work overtime on a daily. Those that are parents must reject extra shifts to look after their children who are not back in school.  

As hospital crews grow tired, traveling nurses are called in to help. These nurses are bouncing from hospital to hospital, getting hefty offers in exchange for a few hours on the hospital floors.

Daniel Wolcott, President of Adventist Health Kern County has also seen them go, their departure causes delays within the hospital.

We have had traveling nurses come work for a few shifts and move on to another contract,” said Wolcott.  “That creates a bit of a challenge because it takes a little training time and getting up to speed.”

Over at Dignity Health, the situation isn’t any different.

“They’ll be here one day, and they’ll call us and say they won’t be back,” said Church.  “They don’t really tell us what they are doing but we know that just from the experience and from talking to traveling companies that there is a price war right now.”

Facebook groups for traveling nurses host postings from recruiters offering up to $3,000 to work for 48 hours at a hospital in Atlantis City, Florida.  Another posting hopes to find nurses for ICUs in Las Vegas. Both in states that have skyrocketing COVID cases and hospitalizations.

Fatigue, over-working, and even vaccination mandates are reasons that have contributed to the many nurses departing.

Adventist Health did confirm to 17 News that they’ve had at least one nurse resign due to vaccination mandates for hospital workers.

Many of these traveling nurses are also required to be fully vaccinated in order to get hired.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Kern County Open

Latest News

More Local News