In a story for NBC News, Leticia Miranda covers the exodus of nurses leaving their rural hospitals for lucrative and higher paying traveling nurse positions, leaving their old employers struggling to fill the staffing gap.

From Miranda: “But smaller rural hospitals cannot afford to pay nurses a competitive salary, said Shannon Cannon, a professor with Texas Tech University School of Nursing. The counties where rural hospitals are located sometimes have only a couple of thousand residents, which means taxes are lower, she said.

“If you live in a community in rural west Texas with 1,500 to 2,000 people, trying to find a nurse still within that community is hard,” she said. “They get lured away to go to larger cities because the pay is better and there are more attractions, especially for young nurses.”

With hundreds of rural hospitals threatening to close and the delta variant of COVID-19 still surging, small, rural hospitals across the country are faced with an increasing staffing shortage, and not enough cash to pay the remainder to stay.