Travel nurses are in high demand right now, which can make this the perfect time to get started and pursue your dream of becoming a nurse traveler. Nurses right now can make higher salaries and find many open positions to suit their wants and needs. Some of this can be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there are other reasons are behind shortages in nursing that make travelers essential for quality care at many facilities across the nation. Many experts believe that demand for travelers will remain high even after the end of the pandemic. Therefore, if you’re interested in travel nursing, it might be the right time to talk to one of our recruiters about your options.
Quick Recap: What are Travel Nurses?
Just in case you’re new to the term “travel nurse,” let’s go over the basics. A travel nurse is a nursing professional that works on a contract basis, often traveling to different locations. Also known as travelers in the nursing industry, they do everything that any other nurse does. The difference is they go to different facilities to help bridge short-term gaps in staffing. Some reasons a facility may hire a traveler is for short-term leave for sicknesses and vacations for their current staff and increased patient demands. For example, many facilities hire travelers during flu season peaks. This can help provide staffing when permanent employees are ill and when there are higher rates of patients during these times. However, demand is growing for high quality travelers to help provide short-term staffing and improve nurse-patient ratios throughout the U.S.
Why is There Such a High Demand for Travel Nurses?
You might be wondering why exactly there’s such a demand for traveling nurses and whether that demand will stay high if you decide to take the plunge and pursue a traveling career. There are many different reasons why travelers are in high demand right now, including chronic nursing shortages and additional demands from COVID.
Chronic Nurse Shortages
The nurse shortage in the U.S. isn’t a new problem, which is one of the reasons why travelers are in such high demand. Shortages of nursing professionals around the country have led to staffing issues and less-than-ideal nurse-patient ratios. Many facilities use travelers to help fill these gaps.
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) has identified several factors that contribute to the nursing shortage, including:
- Aging workforce
- Faculty shortages
- Turnover rates
- Aging population
Nursing Workforce Nearing Retirement
First of all, many of the nurses currently in the workforce are nearing retirement age. The average age of nurses in the country is around 50 years old. Therefore, many nursing professionals are looking to retire in the next 10 to 20 years. This is contributing to shortages that require travel nurses to fill in and provide staffing solutions.
Nurse Faculty Shortages
Another issue that plays a part in the nursing shortage is the dwindling number of nurse faculty. Unfortunately, many educational programs find themselves needing to turn away qualified applicants simply because they don’t have the faculty numbers needed to educate them. This means fewer nurses are able to enter the workforce.
High Turnover Rates
Also, turnover rates are becoming higher and higher in the nursing world. There are a few things that may explain this. First, burnout, fatigue, and stress can be high for many nurses. Of course, being a nurse is a rewarding experience, but many find themselves questioning whether they want to stay in the industry, particularly after working in facilities with major staffing problems, which can increase the risks for burnout.
In addition, turnover between organizations can also be quite high, leaving healthcare facilities with staffing shortages. Many nurses change jobs to take advantage of higher pay, more flexible schedules, or more attractive work cultures. Other reasons for turnover can include personal reasons such as starting a family or moving to a different location. Whatever the case, turnover can leave many facilities short-staffed and needing travel nurses to fill in.
More Demands on Healthcare Industry for an Aging Population
Let’s not forget that the healthcare industry as a whole is becoming more and more strained because our population is getting older. As the population ages, the need for care also increases. Many people are now facing several comorbidities that simply require more frequent or more intense care. This, too, contributes to the increasing demand for short-term contract nurses.
Travel Nurses for the COVID-19 Pandemic
Naturally, with one of the largest health crises our society has faced in quite some time, the healthcare industry has faced many challenges and facilities have been straining to stay on top of patient care. The COVID-19 pandemic brought with it significant demands for nurse travelers. First, the number of patients needing emergency and critical care increased due to the virus. Also, many nurses across the country also contracted the illness and needed to quarantine, leaving staffing gaps in their wake. Therefore, COVID has had a pretty big impact on the demand for travel nursing, particularly in COVID hot spots.
In addition to the increasing number of patients needing care for SARS-CoV-2 symptoms, the COVID-19 pandemic also had another effect when it comes to healthcare. Many people around the nation decided to put off other healthcare needs. This has led to many experiencing more concerning symptoms and conditions. In addition, many necessary, non-emergency surgeries were delayed early in the pandemic. Now, many medical facilities are playing catch-up, whether they provide care for COVID patients or not. This, plus the overall shortages from the pandemic and other factors have led many organizations to be short-staffed and in need of nurse staffing solutions with travelers.
What Types of Nurses are In Demand?
Naturally, nurses for ICUs and E.R. departments during this time are some of the highest in demand due to the pandemic. However, practically all types of nurses are in demand to help fill staffing gaps. Nurses with almost any specialty can find traveler jobs, including occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech language pathology, and radiology nurses. Surgical techs and sterile processing techs are also in demand. Therefore, there’s a traveler job for almost any professional who is ready to talk to one of our travel nursing recruiters.
Why So Many Professionals are Becoming Travel Nurses
So, why should you consider becoming a traveling nurse? There are so many advantages of choosing this career path, which may make it the perfect option for you.
Travel nursing often offers higher pay than permanent nursing jobs, sometimes as much as double the hourly rate. In addition to bonuses and hazard pay many are seeing right now, some professionals are raking in up to $10,000 a week. This is one of the reasons many nurses are deciding to pack their bags and become travelers.
On top of that, you get to travel the country sightseeing and visiting all the places you’ve always wanted to see. You’re in the driver’s seat for where you take jobs. Many nurses decide to travel to see all the places on their bucket lists. A lot of people even take off time in between contracts to be able to explore. If you’re looking for an adventurous life, traveling is the way to go. You also get to help areas and facilities most in need across the country.
If you’re ready to get started, reach out to one of our recruiters today to learn more.
AHS NurseStat: A Nurse Staffing Agency that Cares
Our team at AHS NurseStat is here to help you completely customize the traveling experience to your needs. Our recruiters not only help you find your next nursing assignment, they also get to know you and become a type of support system while you take travel nursing jobs. We care about you and are here to help you reach your career goals and match you with the perfect nursing job. Reach out today to get started!