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US Hospitals Hit With Nurse Staffing Crisis Amid COVID

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FILE - In this Aug. 17, 2021, file photo, an ICU nurse, moves electrical cords for medical machines, outside the room of a patient suffering from COVID-19, in an intensive care unit at the Willis-Knighton Medical Center in Shreveport, La. The COVID-19 pandemic has created a nurse staffing crisis that is forcing many U.S. hospitals to pay top dollar to get the help they need to handle the crush of patients this summer. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a nurse staffing crisis that is forcing many U.S. hospitals to pay top dollar to get the help they need to handle the crush of patients this summer.

The problem, health leaders say, is twofold: Nurses are quitting or retiring, exhausted or demoralized by the crisis. And many are leaving for lucrative temporary jobs with traveling-nurse agencies that can pay $5,000 or more a week. The explosion in salaries has wreaked havoc on hospitals without deep enough pockets.

 

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