Travel nurses are becoming increasingly important in the US healthcare industry. One of the reasons for this is that the average age of a nurse in this country is above 40, which means they are approaching retirement age. As a result, demand for nurses by far outpaces supply. This is an alarming fact, not in the least because it means certain minimum standards (such as the 5-1 nurse to patient ratio in California) cannot be met. The result of this is that there are now many travel nursing agencies, who attract nurses from all over the country to be sent to different places on short term assignments.
How Travel Nursing Agencies Attract Recruits
What must come first at all times is the needs of the patients. This is at the heart of everything that a good travel nursing agency does. At the same time, they understand the difficulties of the life of a travel nurse, not in the least that they never settle down anywhere as a result, and don’t have the security of working in a single healthcare agency for a lengthy period of time. The result of this is that they offer some very interesting benefits to their travel nurses. Those include:
- Salaries that are significantly above the average $68,450 per year that registered nurses (RNs) earn in the country.
- The provision of a range of different types of jobs, which helps to avoid burnout, while at the same time building on the individual skills of each nurse. This also ensures that the nurses can be placed in a greater variety of hospitals and clinics across the country.
- Offering both long-term and short-term assignments.
- Giving nurses the ability to accept or decline any assignment that is offered to them.
It seems, when looking at it from this perspective, that travel nursing truly is a win-win situation for everybody involved.
The One Problem Travel Nursing Agencies Face
One of the key challenges for travel nursing agencies is finding a candidate. They try their best to attract experienced nurses to their books, so that they can send them on many different assignments. However, nurses with a lot of experience usually are slightly older and have a fixed position with the healthcare setting that they have gained this experience with. As a result, they are often reluctant to uproot their lives and move into the unknown world of travel nursing This leaves nurses straight out of nursing school, but those usually don’t have enough experience to be sent to just any clinic across the country.
Another key problem is that it is quite common for a travel nurse to decide to stay on with the healthcare setting they have been sent to. This means that, while a nursing position has been filled permanently, demand in emergency positions will continue to rise. As such, while these agencies have enabled improved healthcare for many patients all over the country, it does not offer the permanent solution that the industry is looking for either.