Where are Nurses Needed for COVID-19?
Travel nurses are being asked to help care for COVID-19 patients across the country. The states with the highest number of job posts asking out of state nurses to help care for coronavirus patients are:
These states are seeing an increasing amount of COVID-19 patients and their cases account for over 60% of the total coronavirus cases in the U.S.
Other states that have the potential for an increase in demand in travel nurses are Michigan, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Louisiana. The whole country is dealing with this crisis. There is a possibility that all states will need the aid of travel nurses to help manage coronavirus in their major cities. Keep an eye on NurseFly’s COVID-19 job postings for the most up to date and accurate information.
What Specialities of Nurses are Needed to Help Care for COVID-19 Patients?
ICU, Emergency Department (ED), and Med Surg/Tele nurses are highest in demand. All travel nurses are asked to be flexible and willing to float. Some ICUS are using med surg/tele nurses to help the ICU manage the critical patients. A team nursing approach is being used, and ICU nurses are delegating less critical tasks to the med surg/tele nurses. Travel med surg and telemetry nurses are also being utilized to care for rule out and positive COVID-19 patients on regular hospital floors.
How Much do COVID-19 Travel Nurse Jobs Pay?
Travel nurses have the option to make a nice sum of cash if they are willing to travel to hot spots and take care of coronavirus patients. There are currently over 3,000 COVID-19 travel nurse jobs available on NurseFly. COVID-19 travel nurse jobs are paying $3060-$5551. Be advised, the higher pay rates are often 48 or 60 hour work weeks. Be sure to read your contract carefully to avoid any surprised. Check out my travel nurse pay breakdown post if you are confused by the way travel nurses are paid.
Traditionally, travel nurse pay has a very low ‘taxable hourly wage’, but these crisis contracts often have a higher hourly wage (I’ve seen $50-$77/hr as hourly pay rates). The stipends tend to be similar or slightly higher than the average Per Diem and housing allowances. To maximize the amount of money you will make, ask the recruiter to drive down the hourly rate if possible, and increase the amount of tax-free stipends you are receiving. Some agencies may allow this, some may not, depending on their policies and the area that the travel nurse is going to.
Special Considerations for Travel Nurses and COVID-19
Due to the national PPE shortage, travel nurse need to ask their receiving facilities about what is currently available before signing a contract. Agencies and managers are very busy right now, but travel nurses need to advocate for themselves and make a solid effort to have contact with the facility before accepting a position. The situation is constantly changing, and as a travel nurses, we need to be hyper aware and on top of our agencies to provide clear communication. REMEMBER: There is no emergency in a pandemic. Do NOT enter rooms without PPE. Even if the patient is coding or self extubating- take the time to protect yourself. Nurses are known for helping others, but we will be unable to provide assistance if we are also sick.
Travel nurses need to read their contracts carefully. The higher paying assignments are often night or rotating shifts, and the work weeks are 48-60 hours. 36 hour contracts are available but often are only paying $3000-$4000 per week (this is still far above average!). ICU nurses need to be especially vigilant with their contracts, as some long term acute care facilities (LTACS) are advertising themselves as ICUs because they take vented patients.
Furthermore, many of these crisis contracts have a ‘can be cancelled at any time’ clause. This means, that if the census drops at the facility that is employing a travel nurse, the facility can cancel the contract with very little notice. If you are a travel nurse heading out on the road right now, you should make sure that you have a month’s worth of savings in case your contract gets cancelled before the expected end date.
What Licensing is Required for COVID-19 Travel Nurse Assignments?
Licensure requirements are changing day to day. Many states have applied for the 1135 waiver- which allows for out of state healthcare providers practice across state lines without obtaining a state specific license. This waiver applies to NLC (compact) and non NLC (non compact) licensed travel nurses.
For more information about: travel nursing and coronavirus read our COVID-19 Travel Nurse FAQ.
Stay safe, stay protected, and stay well.