Travel Nursing Amid Changing Care Needs

increased demand for travel nursing

Demand for health care workers surged during the height of the COVID-19 crisis. Travel nurses, in particular, were put in the spotlight as they met the need to treat severely ill patients in hospitals throughout the world.

Prior to the pandemic, travel nursing was viewed as a promising option for registered nurses (RNs) looking for freedom, flexibility and new professional and personal opportunities. The past years’ healthcare crisis has not diminished those main benefits, but it has offered a bigger glimpse into the pros and cons of travel nursing.

What is Travel Nursing?

Travel nurses work as contingent employees during staff shortages and fluctuations in patient demand. They work on a contractual basis through staffing agencies for a specific period of time. Assignments may be in a variety of clinical settings, including hospitals, clinics, skilled nursing facilities and independent-living locations.

The assignments offer an opportunity for nurses to travel the country, or beyond, while expanding nursing skills and possibly earning more money. RNs must meet the licensing requirements of the state in which they would like to work. As far as geographic locations, travel nurses can work anywhere in the world.

Health care facilities are willing to compensate travel nurses well for filling positions. Some even cover housing and other benefits. Some hospitals recruit travel nurses into full-time positions if they are satisfied with their work performance. Therefore, the commitment might start off as short-term and temporary but become longer-term and permanent.

The market for travel nurses has been growing for years. Aging populations and expanded insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act have created more demand for health care. As the coronavirus pandemic spread in 2020, the need for travel nurses grew more. More than 90% of hospital executives said they were employing travel nurses in their organizations during the COVID crisis, according to a survey conducted by Avant Healthcare Professionals.

Skilled Nurses Needed

Nurses interested in traveling should evaluate their skills to see if the lifestyle would be a good fit for them. Experience is a must; travel nurses must hit the ground running and immediately figure out what is needed on the job. Various facilities and clinical areas may require certain types of, or more, experience than others.

Since they are fulfilling a strong need, travel nurses often treat challenging patients during difficult circumstances. They must deal with complex situations even when they have not developed extensive relationships with colleagues and patients.

In general, individuals need the following qualities to be successful as a travel nurse:

  • Attitude: A positive attitude can help nurses cope with the inevitable pressures and stresses that come with their work.
  • Adept at nursing: Nurses should be confident in their skills and ready to get to work quickly.
  • Adaptable: Travel nurses can excel when they are open and willing to take on new challenges. They must also be able to quickly acclimate to new environments and people.

Ready to Explore All that Nursing Offers?Travel nursing is just one option for nurses wishing to expand their potential. If you would like to make a difference in health care and take your career to the next level, choose Carlow University’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. This nursing degree program equips students with the skills needed for a variety of healthcare settings.

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