Whether you’ve been watching the news, scrolling through social media, or know someone personally in healthcare, you know about the high number of changes lately. Some are regarding COVID-19 and patient safety, while others how much should Registered Nurses (RNs) be allowed to make per hour.
Yeah, you’re reading this right. People in legislation have taken it upon themselves to determine how much we healthcare workers are worth. It’s been known for decades now that staff shortages are a thing. Many hospitals or clinics don’t have adequate numbers to run smoothly and safely. That’s why some people in healthcare travel to help out.
As someone who does travel nursing, I know there are pros and cons to this job.
Sure, you get to move to different places and don’t have to be “tied down.” However, you’re uprooting your life every 13 or more weeks to start somewhere else. Certain things in life get put on hold, and you’re never in a permanent “home.” Due to this lifestyle, we get a stipend similar to what the military would receive for housing. Now we are being told that certain states are passing bills to cap what we’re allowed to make as travel nurses.
Now, if you’re still confused about why this is an issue, let me elaborate further. Travelers, healthcare workers on travel contracts, make more money than someone who permanently works at a hospital and doesn’t leave. To some, this would make some sense as, again, we have to pay rent everywhere we move. Also, expenses change with each location. I’m not saying permanent staff shouldn’t make more because they obviously should too.
If anything, this pandemic should have been the chance for hospitals and facilities to correct things in healthcare. For example, they should give us more than just a bonus that was taxed out or a pizza party.
I’m not going to compare professions by saying one is more important than the other. But why can a lawyer charge so much per hour for going to court, and no one blinks an eye? Why can’t nurses have the same luxury? Why is it that when we’re finally raising our voices, we went from being praised to being criticized. We’re accused of “killing” patients and leaving the profession altogether. It’s no wonder as we have no energy left to keep fighting a battle that no one who doesn’t work in healthcare sees.
It’s time things change for the better. Healthcare won’t get any easier or safer unless those in power start listening. If the worst comes to worst, all nurses and other members will leave hospitals or their professions. If that happens, who’s going to be there to care for your loved ones when they need it most?
Featured image via SJ Objio on Unsplash