One of the biggest lessons of the last few years for many doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals was how unexpected events can quickly and dramatically alter the availability of care in hospitals, clinics, and other facilities. Major cities on the West Coast, especially Los Angeles, have experienced this directly.
Add in population growth and increased staff retirements and it’s become all the more clear that travel nursing has played a critical role in filling the gaps.
Even as global health issues become less prominent, travel nursing remains just as important now and in the future. And that’s equally true for medical facilities and travel nurses alike. Read on as we explore the top reasons travel nurse jobs remain so vital.
For Medical Facilities
Travel nursing plays an increasingly critical role in helping hospitals and other care centers stay running at the level patients expect. Here are some of the top reasons administrators find it so valuable.
1. Quickly and Easily Addresses Staffing Shortages
Anyone who’s been through the hiring process on either side knows how long and involved it can be, potentially lasting weeks. That’s simply too long when facilities face sudden, unexpected surges in demand or seasonal peaks.
On the other hand, travel nurses can be quickly and easily brought on board. Medical staffing agencies help with this by connecting registered nurses to travel nurse jobs in their specialty area, while also taking into account their desired geographical location and pay range. Travel nurses are well-versed in jumping into established care teams and working with a diverse mix of staff and patients, so it is often a seamless process for them to fill in staffing shortages once they are hired.
2. Manage Costs
The ability to keep costs down is also an underrated benefit of travel nursing. As mentioned, the time it takes to hire a full-time employee above, but there’s a considerable cost as well. That’s on top of the cost of benefits and, unfortunately, the costs associated with letting someone go if they’re no longer necessary. Travel nurses also avoid the other alternative, which is paying expensive overtime to current staff.
3. Reducing Burnout
It’s no secret that nursing is a stressful, high-pressure job. Hours are long and sometimes irregular, and the stakes are as high as it gets when dealing with the health of others. This combination can lead to serious burnout, even among dedicated nurses who love their jobs and coworkers.
Aside from the physical and mental health impacts on medical professionals, burnout also leads to lower-quality care for patients and potential long-term issues in the field if burned-out younger people leave nursing altogether. One of the easiest ways to reduce the risk of burnout is to provide adequate time off for staff to rest and refresh themselves. With many time-off requests occurring around the same times of the year, travel nurses allow regular providers to get the vacation time they need without compromising staffing levels.
Travel nursing is also vital for nurses themselves. These jobs fill a variety of needs and desires for those who don’t want or can’t take traditional, long-term positions.
1. More Flexibility
With short-term contracts typically only lasting about 13 weeks, travel nurses don’t need to commit to a job or location for longer than they might desire. Many use this flexibility to travel the country, living in major cities, and seeing the sights while continuing their high-paying, skilled career.
Travel nursing can also provide flexibility for those who may need to occasionally take more extended periods off, whether caring for a loved one or taking care of other responsibilities. They can essentially hit pause on their career, resuming when convenient for them without the need to conduct an exhaustive job search.
2. Better Pay
Nurses focused on their bottom line will find travel nurses typically make significantly more than their counterparts who stay in one place. Travel nurses are paid, on average, about 35% more than regular nurses. This is often on top of other incentives like housing stipends or sign-on bonuses.
While there are naturally some additional costs associated with traveling compared to stationary jobs, this premium more than makes up for them. Over time, this can make a major difference financially for those who don’t mind (or enjoy) the mobile lifestyle. It can also provide the funds for travel nurses who want to take time off between contracts, whether they’re having fun traveling around their new region or taking care of family responsibilities.
3. Growing Your Skillset
Health challenges can vary widely in different parts of the country and different types of facilities. That’s why working as a nurse in a variety of locations will naturally help any nurse build their skills. When confronted with unique issues, they’ll learn from longtime current staff to help expand their overall experience, making them even more valuable for future employers. Travel nurses are often the best prepared for uncommon issues because, in their journeys, they’ve seen it all!
Travel Nursing: Vital for the Future of Medical Care Everywhere
There’s no doubt the world of medicine will see some dramatic changes in the years to come, whether it’s advancing technology or increasing demand from an older population. Medical providers and medical facilities alike will need to be flexible in meeting the needs and challenges of patients, and there’s no doubt travel nursing will play a critical role.
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