Can we talk about the Travel Nurse Cap?!

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by CardiTeleRN CardiTeleRN, BSN Member Nurse

Specializes in Cardiac, Telemetry. Has 4 years experience.

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Why are some states considering capping travel nurse pay?? What is the purpose? To help with the nursing shortage? I'm not sure if someone informed the decision makers that nurses left staff jobs due to low pay so lowering the travel pay will only make nurses leave the profession entirely. I already plan to go back to school for PT to have that under my belt as soon as travel nurse pay is capped. I refuse to go back to misery. The low pay wasn't even the meat and potatoes of it - the issue was the toxicity. The unsafe ratios, long mandated hours, physical/emotional/mental abuse from patients, coworkers, and doctors, and rarely having planned time off approved. I wouldn't even care if the time off was paid or not. Travel nursing allows the freedom of having vacations. One week is more than enough to recover from nursing fatigue. Why haven't they capped the pay of other healthcare specialties? Why are they bullying nurses so much after everything we endure day and day out and not to mention the sacrifices of pandemic work (risking our lives and potentially bringing it home to our loved ones)

LibraNurse27

LibraNurse27, BSN, RN

Specializes in Community Health, Med/Surg, ICU Stepdown. Has 9 years experience. 972 Posts

I guess the country doesn't believe nurses will keep quitting, although the evidence seems clear. I am afraid it will get to the point where people will die because there is no one left to take care of them. For some reason some people are angry about paying nurses what they're worth. Same with paramedics, teachers, etc. I wonder why our society refuses to value those who raise up our children and save our lives. Some EMTs and paramedics make minimum wage! It's crazy

JBMmom, MSN, NP

Specializes in New Critical care NP, Critical care, Med-surg, LTC. Has 10 years experience. 4 Articles; 2,284 Posts

18 hours ago, LibraNurse27 said:

I wonder why our society refuses to value those who raise up our children and save our lives.

True. We will cap the earning potential of people that chose service positions that provide a tangible benefit to others, but those that can swing a bat, sing a song, star in a movie? Those are the ones worth millions. Sad that as a society this is what we allow. 

LibraNurse27

LibraNurse27, BSN, RN

Specializes in Community Health, Med/Surg, ICU Stepdown. Has 9 years experience. 972 Posts

1 hour ago, JBMmom said:

those that can swing a bat, sing a song, star in a movie? Those are the ones worth millions.

Yes, and since I am not a talented athlete or entertainer, living in Silicon Valley has taught me that second best would have been becoming a software engineer, or better yet a venture capitalist! Unfortunately I also don't know how to do coding and huge investments make me nervous. Now that I'm back to clinic nursing I don't feel taken advantage of as I did in the hospital.

It's hard for anyone except those who've experienced it to understand the level of responsibility nurses have. I used to feel upset knowing tech workers who invented phone games like Fruit Ninja (fun game!) make ten times more than me, but I realized I don't HAVE to be a nurse. Now I'm focused on enjoying my work and continuing to advocate for nurses. I think the cap on travel nurse pay is ridiculous, and I hope it leaves a bad taste in the public's mouth knowing fewer and fewer people will want to care for them because nurses are continuously undervalued and disrespected. 

T Campbell MSN RN

T Campbell MSN RN

Specializes in Preop PACU OR. Has 13 years experience. 3 Posts

It’s greed and jealousy. I went to school for 8 years to become a nurse. If pay is capped the I strongly encourage that nurses stick together and leave the field entirely.

Susie2310

Susie2310

2,094 Posts

I hadn't yet read this, but if this is correct, I think this might be happening because nurses are considered essential workers and there is a need to ensure that facilities are sufficiently staffed with nurses during the Covid crisis.  One of the main purposes could be to safeguard the supply of nurses in geographic areas that have fewer nurses.

Edited by Susie2310

T Campbell MSN RN

T Campbell MSN RN

Specializes in Preop PACU OR. Has 13 years experience. 3 Posts

We are so essential that the hospitals allow us to be treated like garbage by doctors. Pay the CEO and CFOs millions in bonus money annually , crap their pants if we ask for anything for ourselves and pay us for years of schooling and long nights of free 12 hour clinical rotations, send us in the the fray being understaffed, under-equipped, and underpaid. I may be essential but I’m not stupid, I’m not cheap, and I’m not a chump. If you accept what you’ve always, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten. This is not cap it is a slap, and the fight will be on. #rethinkEssential #RNWarCry

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, Nursing Professional Development. Has 17 years experience. 5 Articles; 11,204 Posts

1 hour ago, Susie2310 said:

nurses are considered essential workers

The bean counters view them as an expense

1 hour ago, Susie2310 said:

there is a need to ensure that facilities are sufficiently staffed with nurses

Then they need to compensate adequately. Those nurses who are leaving the hospitals for travel positions are often doing so because they see the salary and know they’ll be treated the same as they are now. Why not get the extra money for it? I’ve said it a thousand times: facilities focus far too much on recruitment and nowhere near enough on retention. I am 2 pay grades higher than a new grad RN, and with 16 years of experience I’m valued at $0.25/year above a new grad. I chose to walk and will be getting a significant raise at my new employer, and it isn’t even union. The travel cap will do nothing but have more nurses decide to leave nursing altogether instead of taking the crap we take. 

Tweety, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac. Has 30 years experience. 32,316 Posts

I think they should let the market dictate what the pay should be for travel nurses.  Obviously there is a huge gap between staff and travelers and I don't think it's ever been wider than now but I don't thinking capping is the right thing to do.

Also, about your post, I guess I'm lucky in that I don't travel but work as a staff nurse and take lots of vacations.  My friends at the VA get nine weeks off a year and seems like they are always taking time off.  

What's ironic is capping pay is not a unique idea.  I've been at the max pay this year and until they raise it, I don't get raises.  

T Campbell MSN RN

T Campbell MSN RN

Specializes in Preop PACU OR. Has 13 years experience. 3 Posts

And you are fine with this? Thank you, fine I appreciate you for that, but I’m completely out of debt and my new house is paid off in 1 year… that’s 3 contracts, and I’m 27. I’m not saying this to brag, but if you’re happy making far far less than your worth then more power to you. You remind me of an eBay seller. Let me elaborate. There are some very unique and rare items on eBay. Symbolically these items are nurses). You can get what was once very pricey dirt cheap thus lowering the value and preciousness of these items. Why? Because people who wanted to make fast money (the seller) and people who didn’t care that they were selling cheap (the seller) sought out people like yourself (the staff nurse) who wouldn’t fuss and baaaa baaaaa baaa their way back into the farmyard (the healthcare facilities) its sellers ie nurses like yourself who drive prices of valuable items (nurses) into the gutter.

brandy1017

brandy1017, ASN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care. 2,718 Posts

What states are talking about a pay cap?  I haven't seen anything in the news.  Please post a link regarding this.

Jedrnurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in school nurse. Has 30 years experience. 2,776 Posts

10 hours ago, Rose_Queen said:

 I am 2 pay grades higher than a new grad RN, and with 16 years of experience I’m valued at $0.25/year above a new grad. 

Oh, I hope you meant $0.25/hour....?

And that amount is an insult and a joke. Good for you for getting out of there.