CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – As the pandemic draws on and cases skyrocket, the demand for travel nurses continues to rise, which is impacting hospitals in the Mountain State.
West Virginia ranks 15th in the country for nursing pay. On average, nurses make 30 dollars an hour.
West Virginia Nurses Association Executive Director, Julie Huron said, “there are actually more nurses in West Virginia than there are coal miners or teachers.”
This is because West Virginia has a high percentage of elderly residents. However, local hospitals are now experiencing a shortage of contract nurses due to many factors within the workplace.
“How do we create an amazing environment to keep nurses from looking? One major thing I think that every organization needs to really dial into is giving COVID time off, we’re hearing that nurses are going negative into their PTO just so they don’t have to go without a paycheck.”
Many contract nurses are opting to become travel nurses for better treatment and better pay. Some working in COVID hotspots are making up to 70 dollars an hour, or up to 11-thousand dollars a week.
Some nurses say they’re also leaving due to being overworked due to staffing shortages.
West Virginia delegates Heather Tully (R-Nicholas) and Amy Summers (R-Taylor) are drafting a bill they hope will address some of the problems.
“The staffing shortages you can talk about in a lot of different ways, they’re there for several different reasons, but the most important part for this part of the bill is if a staff member comes in from another state, do they know if there is a safety concern and they come to a facility and it does not go addressed by the administration. Do they know where to report those concerns?” said Del. Tully.
The WVNA is holding a virtual town hall meeting tomorrow night to discuss issues and concerns, focusing on help with worker’s compensation. Here is a link to the webinar.