Nurse shares experience around switching from staff nursing to travel nursing

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The pandemic has put an immense amount of pressure on the healthcare system over the past year and a half. Because of this, many nurses are left overwhelmed and burned out.

“Nurses are humans too and we have feelings that need to be validated just as much as our patients,” said Lacey Bolden. “I feel like people tend to forget. Nurses take care of people but who’s taking care of us?”

A year and a half into a pandemic and many of them are feeling defeated. Lacey Bolden was a staffing nurse at a hospital in Alabama before becoming a travel nurse.

“Coming from a situation where you’re understaffed, you’re overworked, everyone’s exhausted,” she said. “We’ve seen the worst of the worst. It’ll drive you to a point where you need a change. And that’s kinda where I was. I just was in a bad mental place where I needed a change and so that’s what I did for myself and honestly, it’s the best decision that I ever made.”

Bolden is now working in Florida under a contract, where she says she could do the same job while feeling more appreciated and earning more money.

Bolden graduated from nursing school in 2019. Just months later, COVID-19 hit the United States. Basically, she started her career in a pandemic. Bolden said she was living in what they learn about in school.

She says seeing so many pass away so quickly has caused a huge mental toll.

“You tend to take home a lot of the emotional part that comes with nursing and that is the hard part,” said Bolden. It’s also part of the reason many nurses are either pursuing travel nursing or quitting healthcare altogether.

News 19 asked Bolden what the solution is, to keep nurses at local hospitals.

“Honestly right now I feel like there’s not,” she said. “Unless these hospitals are willing to pay their staff nurses more for… the amount of work it is, physically, emotionally. Everything that it takes to wake up a do your job.”

That job remains on the frontline of a pandemic, that’s not yet over.

“Trust and believe we are doing the best we can under the circumstances,” said Bolden. “We’re all just trying to fight this fight together.”

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