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Travel nurses in demand amid nationwide staffing shortages

Posted at 5:30 PM, Sep 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-23 21:19:21-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The healthcare industry is not immune to the staffing shortages that are happening nationwide. Now, with local news of a potential nursing strike and staff vaccine mandates in New York hospitals, Trusted Nurse Staffing agency says it’s busier than ever before.

“When hospitals need employees, we have them on hand to get them in quickly,” said Jessica Mandrino with Trusted.

Mandrino says Trusted Nurse Staffing works with hospital chains across the country to place nurses in high-need areas. Mandarin says typically, staff nurses decide to travel for all different reasons.

“It’s not just money. They don’t feel like they’re being valued at their jobs,” she said.”

A typical travel nurse contract is 13 weeks, but Mandarino says that they can be more or less depending on what the nurse wants.

“You can be at a hospital for up to a year if you want to,” she said.

Nurses at Mercy Hospital of Buffalo, whose CWA Union is currently bargaining with Catholic Health for better wages and more staff say an e-mail is circulating showing typical pay for a travel nurse—up to $120 per hour. These nurses say this is a slap in the face to staff nurses working day in and day out who just want better wages and more help.

Although the e-mail is not from Trusted Nurse Staffing, Mandrino says travel nurses who sign with their company are making upwards of $3,000 per week. According to ZipRecruiter, the average nurse in Buffalo makes around $39 per hour.

“We have fully paid dental and vision,” Mandrino said. “You get bonuses for signing on, you get extension bonuses,” she said,

Kaleida Health says it uses travel nurses but not in great numbers and says it can be part of the staffing solution.

Catholic Health says it will be ready if CWA workers strike, part of that plan could include staffing agencies.

“We will be prepared if the union follows through with its strike threat. Part of our comprehensive readiness plan involves contracting with a professional staffing agency that has considerable experience with healthcare strikes. It’s an expense we wanted to avoid, but because of CWA actions we had no alternative. Mercy Hospital will remain open for our community regardless of the union’s actions.”