DENVER — In March, Claire Tripeny was watching her dream job fall apart. She’d been working as an intensive care nurse at St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood, Colo., and loved it, despite the mediocre pay typical for the region.
But when COVID-19 hit, that calculation changed.
She remembers her employers telling her and her colleagues to “suck it up” as they struggled to care for six patients each and patched their protective gear with tape until it fully fell apart. The $800 or so a week she took home no longer felt worth it.
“I was not sleeping and having the most anxiety in my life,” Tripeny said. “I’m like, ‘I’m gonna go where my skills are needed and I can be guaranteed that I have the protection I need.’ ”
In April, she packed her bags for a two-month contract in then-COVID-19 hot spot New Jersey, as part of