Demand for Travel Nurses in Washington Surges As Coronavirus (COVID-19) Cases Rise
With Seattle, Washington currently experiencing one of the biggest outbreaks of COVID-19 disease in the entire country, the need for travel nurses in the Seattle area has surged.
The Seattle area has been called “ground zero” for COVID-19, as it has experienced one of the highest numbers of reported infections, as well as deaths, so far in the U.S. With an outbreak like this, one of the major challenges is that if the nurses and doctors caring for the infected patients fall sick too, they have to be quarantined so they don’t spread the virus even more — leaving a gap in staff to take their places.
And that’s where travel nurses come in.
How Travel Nurses Can Help With COVID-19
Travel nurses are needed to not only fill in the places of nurses who become infected and quarantined but also in the community, providing education and testing on suspected COVID-19 patients. And as the virus may spread even more in the upcoming weeks, there will be even more demand for travel nurses who are willing to work in affected areas.
Travel nurses are also especially needed in the areas of:
- Emergency room
- Community and urgent clinics (where people will be most likely going for testing outside of the ERs)
Before you sign up, you’ll want to check the healthcare staffing agency’s policy on what happens if you are forced to be quarantined — such if you will be paid a stipend and what payments will you still be responsible for during quarantine.
For instance, the staffing agency Trusted Health has a clear “Action Plan” on their website that outlines their quarantine policy: if forced to quarantine, all travel nurses are still paid their full wages and stipends for 14 days. After the 2-week period, payments are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. If your agency doesn’t clearly outline the policy for this, you need to be sure to ask and understand it fully.
What Are COVID-19 Travel Nurses Being Paid?
Of course, because the coronavirus is, quite literally, a crisis, travel RNs are being paid crisis rates if they are willing to travel to the affected areas, like Seattle, for both short and long-term assignments.
When the crisis was at a peak, some agencies were even offering $4K+ bonuses for travel nurses to sign on. However, that rate is unusually high, and most travel nurses in the Seattle area are reporting closer to the $2-3K range for a weekly wage.
How to Sign On for a COVID-19 Travel Nurse Assignment
If you are feeling the call to help in Seattle, the local NuWest Staffing has set up a special COVID-19 emergency page for nurses and other healthcare professionals who are willing to travel to the outbreak area. According to the page, the staffing agency is working with the CDC, WA State and King County Departments of Health, and local hospitals & clinics to keep healthcare teams adequately staffed.
The agency has both a direct hotline, an online form, and an email address you can contact to learn more, and they are offering expedited licensing for nurses whose licenses aren’t eligible for work in WA, as well as a $1,000 referral bonus for minimum 6-week assignments.
Trusted Health is also running an updated list of COVID-19 high impact travel nurse positions across the country, including in California and Massachusetts. Positions include everything from telephone triage to urgent care to ER, with weekly rates ranging from around $2,100 to $2,900 for hospital-based positions. You can also check some Facebook groups for job postings in the COVID-19 affected area, such as the Premium Job Board, which mandates that all job postings must have a minimum rate of $49/hour.
While the fate of our country is unclear and many are waiting anxiously to see how the virus will affect us all, one thing is for certain: travel nurses will be vital now, more than ever.