More nurses moving to per diem work

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — A severe nursing shortage is crippling our hospitals and nursing homes. There aren’t enough people joining the profession but nurses are leaving in droves too, instead choosing to work on contract or per-diem when and where they want.

Gwen Session has been a nurse for 20 years and over the course of that time, she’s seen it all, “I actually like being a nurse but now with all the challenges and COVID it’s made it very difficult,” she told News10NBC.

Session has worked mostly in nursing homes, “it’s very demanding, it’s very draining, it’s emotional so you cannot just be in this for money,” she said.

After years of working for facilities, Session now works exclusively for a nurse staffing agency.

“I’m available Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and then I don’t work the rest of the week and I’m fine with that or I can call in and say “oh, I’m available for these weekend shifts, or I’ll work one day this weekend,” she said, “I’m not obligated to work weekends, at most facilities now they are making sure that you are obligated to work at least two weekends out of the month.”

Session works for Nurse Connection Staffing here in Rochester. It’s basically a middle-man between nurses and CNAs and the facilities who desperately need them.

“People don’t want to be forced to work every other weekend, they don’t want to be mandated, they don’t wanna be forced into conditions that they don’t want they want to be able to have the freedom which I think is key to the nurses they deserve that freedom they work out every day and if they don’t wanna work every other weekend or every Christmas they shouldn’t have to,” explains Evan Zmarthie, the Regional Manager of Nurse Connection Staffing.

Nurse Connection Staffing is so busy, it just expanded its Rochester office, “schools, right when the nurse goes out for maternity leave, we have jails, we have doctor’s offices, long-term care facilities our main bread and butter, and we have hospitals,” Zmarthie explained.

For Session and so many other nurses who’ve made the switch, it’s ideal.

“I really believe it’s the future of nursing, a lot of people that was just at our nursing home that I worked at they just left to become agency nurses for the flexibility,” she said.