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High demand for travel nurses at Texas hospitals as state faces nursing shortage

Two healthcare staffing agencies we spoke with said Texas is a hotspot for travel nurse job openings as hospitals try to fill thousands of open positions statewide.

TEXAS, USA — COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are surging in Texas, and hospitals are in need of more nurses. We spoke with the leaders of two different health care staffing companies to get an inside look at what they are seeing right now.

"Texas is a hotbed. The demand is real,” said John Maaske, the CEO of Triage Staffing. “We've seen more jobs come up in Texas than we have any other state. Texas isn’t necessarily leading the nation as a percentage of increases, but it is in terms of total job volume."

John Maaske said in the past month, Texas has posted more travel nurse jobs than anywhere else in the country.

"We saw 3,200 new jobs come up in Texas just related to COVID demand. 3,200 jobs. And that just was last month,” said Maaske. “In August, 1,800 jobs have already come up and we're only six days into the month."

We also spoke with the CEO of another medical staffing company called BluePipes, who said he has seen the number of job postings for travel nurses in Texas double since January 2021. And Austin has seen an even bigger increase than the statewide average.

"So we have had about a 150% increase in the number of jobs posted on our platform from January to now in Austin,” shared Kyle Schmidt, the co-founder and CEO of Blue Pipes.

Other states are also facing nursing shortages, so hospitals are having to pay more to get nurses to work for them. Kyle Schmidt told KVUE that right now in Texas, the highest-paying travel nurse jobs he has seen are around $120 an hour. But he said some places are still just offering the more average pay of $35 to $40 an hour.

"I would say that a plurality of the jobs are between, say, $55 and $80 per hour, which is quite lucrative for registered nurses,” said Schmidt. “Although, I will say, the job that they're undertaking is quite a difficult task currently."

"We've seen an increase in pay upwards of 30% to 50% of where it was just three months ago, as COVID demand has increased,” added Maaske.

We reached out to Ascension Seton, Baylor Scott & White Health, and St. David's healthcare to see how they are doing with staffing and if they are offering higher pay incentives.

They sent KVUE the following joint statement:

"Ascension Seton, Baylor Scott & White Health and St. David’s HealthCare continue to monitor the increase in COVID-19 cases and execute plans to ensure hospitals have the staff and resources they need to care for our community. 

Given the recent surge in hospitalizations affecting facilities in Central Texas and throughout the state—and the statewide nursing shortage—all three healthcare systems are sourcing staff using multiple resources, increasing shifts, paying critical staffing bonuses and redeploying non-nursing staff to assist with non-clinical tasks. 

The majority of patients being treated for severe illness from the virus continue to be unvaccinated or partially vaccinated. To take the burden off of our frontline workers, we are encouraging all eligible residents to get vaccinated. Vaccinations help prevent health complications and can reduce hospitalizations."

John Maaske with Triage Staffing said they're expecting this need for nurses to keep growing nationwide through the end of the year.

"We just continue to forecast a bigger demand,” he said. “The number of jobs that we have as a company has increased by about 20% just in the last month. And we envision that that could go up another 15% to 20% in the next 30 days.”


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