US hospitals hit with nurse staffing crisis

Nurses are quitting or retiring because of the pressures of the pandemic. Many are leaving for lucrative temporary jobs with traveling-nurse agencies.

By

National News

September 3, 2021 - 4:18 PM

Photo by (Tim Tai/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS)

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a nurse staffing crisis that is forcing many U.S. hospitals to pay top dollar to get the help they need to handle the crush of patients this summer.

The problem, health leaders say, is twofold: Nurses are quitting or retiring, exhausted or demoralized by the crisis. And many are leaving for lucrative temporary jobs with traveling-nurse agencies that can pay $5,000 or more a week.

It’s gotten to the point where doctors are saying, “Maybe I should quit being a doctor and go be a nurse,” said Dr. Phillip Coule, chief medical officer at Georgia’s Augusta University Medical Center, which has on occasion seen 20 to 30 resignations in a week from nurses taking traveling jobs.

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