A Healthy Future for Travel Nursing
By Aaron Moore, MSN, RN-BC, travel nurse expert
I was scrolling through an email recently from the Emergency Nurses Association about the significant increase in the number of nurses entering the workforce, and began to think about how this might impact the travel nursing industry.
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When I entered travel nursing, the industry was booming and expanding in nearly every state. This allowed for some awesome options in choosing each assignment adventure. Even if supply and demand ebbed and flowed, I could mostly still go where I wanted. I know that experience, and a great recruiter, helped me a lot.
Currently, predictions about the workforce vary. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has projected that, if current trends continue, growth in the supply of nurses will outpace demand by 2025. Yet they don’t take into account any changes that might occur in health care delivery, and they obviously can’t know for sure how many new nurses will enter the field or when working RNs will retire. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the nursing shortage could continue at least through 2020. Confused yet?
I take all of these predictions with a grain of salt. Health care depends on nurses, and the more people you have, the more people get sick--like with the Boomer generation living longer with chronic conditions. Plus, with more Americans becoming insured, more will be using their health benefits, which should increase demand for nurses. HRSA also points out that the distribution of nurses across the country will continue to be an issue.
Enter travel nursing! With its short contracts--usually 13 weeks or less--and recruiters’ abilities to connect you with facilities that need your skills, how can you turn it down? If there aren’t many jobs in your town, you might look at big cities like L.A, San Diego, New York City, Houston, Dallas, and many more. They need qualified nurses now.
Nursing has become more specialized over the years, allowing nurses to enter fields like labor and delivery, emergency, and intensive care earlier in their careers. That means that some nurses can begin traveling sooner, too; talk to a recruiter about the current requirements in your field. Get some experience under your belt, and, trust me, the opportunities really will start to open up.
The bottom line: don’t worry when you hear of more people entering the nurse job market. The need for temporary nurse staffing has seen a real uptick in recent months, and recruiters are busy finding nurses to fill these jobs. Are you ready to give traveling a try? If you’re not sure, do some more reading, reach out to a recruiter and check out the healthy career of travel nursing.
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