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Travel nurses making up to $4,700 a week; local hospitals struggling to keep up

Updated: Dec. 3, 2020 at 11:19 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - When your job is in high demand, you tend to get paid a little extra for it.

Travel nurse Cenita Jones says her pay is triple what it was when she started traveling last...
Travel nurse Cenita Jones says her pay is triple what it was when she started traveling last year.(WAFF)

But not every company can compete with rising rates, especially when it comes to nurses knee deep in this pandemic.

Some registered nurses are getting paid up to $4,700 dollars a week to travel to another state and stay for weeks at a time.

One-hundred dollars an hour; would that kind of pay make you want to hit the road for a few months?

“Traveling nurses are currently getting paid very well.”

Registered nurse Cineta Jones graduated from Calhoun Community College 10 years ago.

She started her first contract as a travel nurse last year, making $1,700 dollars a week.

Her pay rate now is much different.

“We are actually making double to triple what I started making when I started traveling,” Jones said.

But it’s by no means easy work.

Jones has spent the last 13 weeks at Northside Hospital in Atlanta, Treating patients with COVID-19.

“We had like 13 patients, 12 patients. I came back from Thanksgiving and we were completely full, we had 28. We had to open a whole other unit. You want to give back to the community. You want to help where you can,” Jones said.

The concern for Huntsville Hospital CEO David Spillers, is not being able to pay those rates and hang onto healthcare workers like Jones.

“It worries me that other communities around the country are somehow paying unbelievable salaries for nurses to travel. I’ve said for years hospitals in other states have far more resources than hospitals in Alabama. So I think every hospital in Alabama is struggling right now with nurses from our state leaving and going somewhere else.,” Spillers said.

Jones says she starts another travel nurse contract in Atlanta next week, making $55.50 an hour.

Spillers says there are around 100 nurses who have accepted jobs and will start in January.

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