I have news, it isn’t good or bad, it just is.
Many of you know I’m currently on a travel nurse contract. It’s about an hour from my house. I work three shifts a week in a little tiny emergency department on night shift. I love it. I can’t say enough good things about the facility, everyone is so kind. I enjoy it so much that I’ve renewed my contract through when baby comes in September! This is all good news.
There has been a huge shift in the travel nursing industry in the past week, unlike anything that’s ever happened before. It began on the West coast and has slowly spread across the country.
Remember about 2 months ago when congress had talked about capping travel nurse salary? I think they realized that wasn’t going to be feasible from their position.
There’s something else you need to understand about hospitals. You may go to a hospital, there’s a few in Iowa and Minnesota like UnityPoint or MercyOne, they are actually a chain of hospitals associated with or owned by much larger nationwide hospital systems. Kaiser is another hospital system that owns a ton of smaller hospitals. The owners of the much larger hospital systems got together and decided travel nurses were making too much money.
The hospital systems all told their travel nurses they were reducing their pay, some by x amount per hour and some by percentages (up to 50%!) and told the nurses if they don’t like their new rate they can leave.
Chaos ensues. So many travel nurses had to either accept a much lower wage, even lower than staff nurses, or they chose to leave their job with almost no notice. Many travelers opted to leave and just like that, hospitals across the nation lost a huge percentage of their staff overnight.
Can you imagine the stress that puts on the remaining hospital staff? Or the nurse managers who have to schedule around this nightmare? This isn’t just happening in “some places,” I personally know many, many nurses who are affected by this massive shake up.
Many of these travel nurses have rented apartments, signed leases, moved their family, even purchased homes with the intention of finishing out their contracts. It’s a very big mess and people really aren’t aware of all that’s going on.
As of now, as I’m typing this, I’ve been reassured my contract and my renewal is safe. However, I’m still on the chopping block. Keep in mind, these nurse managers, even nursing administration at these smaller hospitals don’t have any control over these decisions. It all is coming from the very tip top down.
That being said, our debt snowball, our debt payoff goal has been put on hold. We were due to be debt free by October before I go on maternity leave, a goal we’ve been working feverishly towards for 3 years. We were so close. Our plan is now to weather this “storm,” this unpredictability of my job, pile up cash, and keep on trucking. If I can get through my maternity leave and we still have the cash, I can secure another contract for January 2023, I’ll be glad to throw our savings at the debt snowball and in the scheme of things, there won’t be much time lost.
But I’m still kind of bummed.
So that’s what I know about our debt free update. It isn’t always big milestones, sometimes it’s just boring and buckling down to weather the storm. Thanks for reading!
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