Travel Nursing in High Demand

Written by on February 28, 2014 in Features - No comments

Modern day technology is providing career opportunities for registered nurses that couldn’t be imagined in earlier times in the form of travel nursing. Thanks to wireless technology, which allows a nurse to receive calls on a consistent phone number while working as a travel nurse, and internet technology, which enables the nurse to do their banking and pay their bills from virtually anywhere in the world, the opportunity to become a travel nurse has never been more appealing.

A Brief History

According to Healthcare Traveler magazine, the birth of the travel nursing industry occurred in 1978, when the city of New Orleans experienced a short-term population burst during Mardi Gras, and a contract nurse arrived at a hospital to help with the surge of partygoers. This set a precedent, which became a viable solution when a serious countrywide nursing shortage occurred in the 1980s. Hiring highly skilled and competent nurses for short-term assignments was a convenient and cost-efficient way for health care facilities to handle their short-terms needs. Hence, the travel nursing industry was born. 1

Since then, travel nurses have been used throughout the country on an ongoing basis to help ease staff shortages, adjust staff levels for specific times of year, or fill positions when nurses are on maternity leave or undergoing training. Because there are more nursing positions than there are nurses, the demand for travel nurses nationwide has continued to grow.

Making the Most Travel Nursing

The most successful people see opportunity where and when it arises, and they’ll seize those moments to ensure a bright future.

Nursing is the nation’s top profession in terms of projected growth. However, there aren’t enough nurses to provide service to the population. The nursing shortage in the U.S. could reach 500,000 by 2025 and, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than one million new and replacement nurses will be needed by 2016. 2

In addition, enrollment in nursing schools isn’t growing quickly enough to meet projected demand over the next 10 years. And it doesn’t matter much because a faculty shortage at nursing schools is restricting program growth. The average age of RNs is climbing and, as they retire, there won’t be enough young nurses to fill the available positions. When baby boomers retire en masse, and the need for health care professionals will become even more urgent. Thus, the need for travel nurses to fill these evident vacancies will continue to grow as the shortage increases.

What is a Travel Nurse?

A travel nurse is a nurse who is hired to work in a specific location for a limited amount of time. Travel nurses typically work 13 week periods in one area, and move around the country depending on where they are needed. Because the demand for nurses is so high, there are often shortages in certain areas, and a traveling nursing will be hired to come in and work in a specific position for a short amount of time.

Travel nursing assignments typically range from 8 to 26 weeks in length and include a variety of different specialties. Travel Nurses are able to choose between several jobs in a variety of areas lasting for different lengths of time. This allows traveling nurses the freedom to choose where and when they work. The freedom to choose where and when you work is a great benefit that allows travel nurses the ability to take time off when they want and not be stuck at the same job day after day. 3

Why Choose to Become a Travel Nurse?

Travel nursing offers career-building opportunities, lucrative salaries, exciting destinations and new adventures and challenges. These are just some of the reasons that lead nurses to embark on a travel nurse career. Here are some opportunities available to a healthcare traveling nurse:

  • Choose your workplace: Travel nurses can choose to work at a fast-paced urban center, a renowned medical institution or a small community-based facility, depending on their preference. They choose what’s right for them, based on their career and lifestyle goals.
  • Take control of your career: The travel nurse is in control. They decide when and where they want to work. A nurse can decide to take off a month between assignments or to spend the summer in New England and the winter in California.
  • Enjoy free, quality accommodations: Most assignments offer free, quality accommodations close to the medical facility. Housing amenities often include gyms, swimming pools, spas and clubhouses. Furniture and utilities are arranged by a travel company in advance so that everything is ready for the nurse when they arrive at their new destination.
  • Travel throughout the United States: Whether a nurse is attracted to the tropical islands of Hawaii, the snowy slopes of Colorado or Vermont, the sweeping desert vistas of Arizona or the golden beaches of California, travel nursing can place a nurse in the heart of their favorite destination in any of the nation’s 50 states.
  • Enjoy top-notch travel nurse salaries: Due to the high demand for RNs, travel nurses enjoy generous pay rates, ranging from $22 to $40 per hour. Rates vary depending on their nursing specialty, the assignment facility and the region.
  • Try out a new location before making a permanent move: Travel nursing gives one the chance to check out practically any city in the United States before making a permanent move to the area.
  • Boost your résumé: Travel nurses have the opportunity to work alongside seasoned professionals at some of the best facilities in the world. Nurses have the chance to learn new techniques and expand their clinical skills and competencies.
  • Meet new people and make new friends: Travel nursing is a great way to strike up new friendships with coworkers, medical professionals, and fellow travelers while living in a new region. 4

The field of travel nursing is one that will offer expanding opportunities during the next half century. By becoming a travel nurse, one can take advantage of all the possibilities that the field has to offer.


By Thomas Hibbard
Med Monthly

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