One online job posting for a travel nurse position in Fort Wayne indicated the health care professional who would be hired could make $4,732 per week.
The job post, in mid-October, was for someone who could start Nov. 1 and commit to 13 weeks in an emergency department.
Several recruitment ads that same day seeking travel nurses made no reference to salary potential. But one for a part-time pediatric nurse, which had been online at least one month, promised $3,614 each week. Another job posting seeking an operating room travel nurse promised $1,521 weekly.
Sherrell D. Mims knows there's money to made in more than one setting or work arrangement when it comes to nursing.
“I'm getting ready to start traveling again,” Mims, a registered nurse in Fort Wayne, said during a late October interview.
Mims works locally as a psychiatric nurse for health care providers, including area hospitals. She's also had recent experience as a traveling nurse, including caring for COVID-19 patients.
She expects to resume travel nursing, still focusing on psychiatric care, this month or in December.
In 2019, Mims released a book, “I Will Wait Until Morning: A Caregiver's Memoir on Assisting a Loved One with Cancer.” The book stemmed from Mims' personal experience with a fiancé. But she has been in health care more than 22 years and sees nursing as her calling.
“It's not always just about the money, it's about having the passion,” Mims said. “My thing is this: The money is going to come. ... It's not called work when you love what you do.”
Two health care staffing agencies that had posts visible in the past month for Fort Wayne travel nurse openings did not respond or declined requests for comment about demand.
The CEO of the Indiana State Nurses Association and Indiana Nurses Foundation said COVID-19 has “exacerbated an underlying nursing shortage that began prior to the pandemic which has led to an increase use of travel nursing.”
Katherine Feley, who is also an RN, said in an email response that travel nursing pays generously and can include packages for housing and health insurance. The positions may also provide additional bonuses based on assignment and other opportunities like referral bonuses.
“Attractions of flexibility in scheduling short-term assignments, favorable locations for travel, possible lower cost of living assignments and the freedom of choice pull nurses to travel nursing,” Feley said. “Longer time can be taken off in-between assignments due to the higher pay to spend more down time with friends and family. Additionally, employer politics are usually minimized through the short-term experience.”
Mims has a daughter in college and is anxious to get back to 13-week assignments at varied locations.
“Sometimes you can stay on a contract for up to a year,” she said. “You get to travel the world at the travel agency's expense.”