Brooklyn, NY - USA | December 31, 2021 -- In 2019, Sarina Marie Diamond was struggling financially under a mountain of student loan debt and other bills while living in low-income housing in an undesirable neighborhood in Queens, New York.
In early 2021, the certified nursing assistant (CNA) was making approximately thirty thousand dollars per year as an entry-level worker in the medical field, a profession she has worked in since 2015. In a state like New York where the cost of living is high, her salary wasn’t stretching enough. But when the world struggled with the Covid-19 pandemic, Diamond’s financial woes lessened. For her, it was a lift out of poverty and a push toward financial freedom.
It was a time of unfortunate circumstances for many, but for people like Diamond who possessed a skillset in dire need at the time, it was the saving grace she needed as well as the being the saving grace to others who needed her help. “My mother caught Covid and had blood clots in her lungs, and in and around her heart so I sympathize with patients and their family members. I was working at a COVID center, with over three hundred beds, and it was full to capacity,” says the thirty-two-year-old Diamond.
Prior to the pandemic, Diamond made about seventeen dollars per hour as a traveling CNA, and struggled to pay her bills and student loans. But now she is averaging five thousand dollars per week. “In one thirteen-week contract, I can easily make sixty to ninety thousand dollars, depending on how much overtime I want to take,” said Diamond. She said she has had back-to-back contracts since the pandemic began and is on track to make three hundred thousand in 2022 having signed a new contract with her current traveling nursing agency. The year-long contract offers Diamond fifty dollars per hour, and seventy-five dollars per hour for overtime.
Diamond said she doesn’t know how long the demand for traveling nursing assistants will prove to be a lucrative career field, so she is making decisions with her money now that will set herself up for success in the future. She has paid down most of her student loan debt and plans to buy a new home in New Jersey. Additionally, she is using her downtime while traveling to take online nursing courses in the evenings. Diamond is also in development for her own medical comedy series which features reenactments of bizarre real-life medical emergencies that she has witnessed in her ten-year career.
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