Do you crave adventure? Are you a skilled registered nurse with expertise in your field? Are you adaptable? If any of this resonates with you, you might want to be a travel nurse.
In fact, you might already want to become a travel nurse, which is why you’re here at our blog today. We’re going to review the history of travel nurses, the current need for travel nurses across the United States, and the travel nurse industry projected growth.
History of the Travel Nursing Industry
For more than four decades, travel nurses have been sent to various regions in the nation during times of patient influx to help hospitals and healthcare centers meet staffing needs. The very first travel nurses on record were contracted in New Orleans during the 1970s to help during the influx of visitors for Mardi Gras, according to TravelNursing.org. During this time, hiring travel nurses for a few weeks helped deal with the increase of visitors to the area.
During the 1980s, the concept of travel nursing took off in a widespread fashion as a temporary solution to the national nursing shortage as described by the American Society of Registered Nurses. Growth of the travel nursing industry took off, and new travel nursing agencies began opening all over the United States to help place registered nurses in short-term work contracts nationwide.
In addition to fulfilling the needs caused by the nursing shortage, travel nurses also gained popularity as a solution to the seasonal demands throughout the nation in areas that attracted large numbers of retired people and travelers in the winter time, like Arizona and Florida.
Digital Era Led to More Travel Nursing Jobs
Throughout the years, the national nursing shortage has not gone away, rather it’s grown. In addition to this factor and the need for seasonal nurses for movement of people during specific times of the year, internet and the growth of mobile technology have furthered the growth of the travel nursing industry.
Advancements made possible during this digital age have made it easier for nurses to travel across the country to work as a travel nurse, while still maintaining their connections to a home base. Furthermore, registered nurses use the internet to find more opportunities and the highest paying travel nursing jobs and make more connections in the industry, while travel nursing agencies are more able to reach out and connect with nurses who are looking for short-term staffing assignments.
Aging Baby Boomers Continue to Soar the Demand for Healthcare Services
Perhaps one of the most obvious reasons the need for travel nurses continues to grow is the fact we have an enormous population of people aging in the United States. As people experience longer life spans, the demand for healthcare services, in general, continues to rise. According to the National Institute of Nursing Research, about 80 percent of people who are over the age of 65 have at least one illness that is chronic in nature, such as diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis. Many of these individuals have multiple chronic illnesses simultaneously.
Changing demographics have led to more professional and independent nurses who are able to fill in the gaps when nursing staffing agencies and hospitals are short and need more skilled nurses in order to keep up.
How the Affordable Care Act Led to a Higher Demand for Travel Nurses
The passing of the Affordable Care Act is probably the single most contributing factor to the growth of the travel nursing industry. Since 2014, it’s estimated that an additional eight million people have signed up for health insurance since 2014. Kaiser Health News reports that the travel nursing industry has hit a 20-year high as a direct result of this increase in insured Americans.
Throw all these factors together along with the regulatory changes and improving the economy, and you can see why travel nursing is here to stay.
What Does the Future of the Travel Nursing Industry Look Like?
According to an article published by Reuters:
“Industry experts, from hospital associations to Wall Street analysts, say the crisis is harder to address than in the past. A faculty shortage and too few nursing school slots has contributed to the problem. Hospitals seek to meet a goal calling for 80 percent of nursing staff to have a four-year degree by 2020, up from 50 percent in 2010. They also face more competition with clinics and insurance companies that may offer more flexible hours.”
Even though the national shortage of registered nurses has persisted for decades, the industry experts do not predict it’s going to end any time soon. In fact, it’s estimated that the need for travel nurses is going to get worse and greater in the coming decade. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that there will be 1.2 million vacancies for registered nursing jobs from 2014 until 2022. Older nurses are retiring and with fewer nurses in the pool already, something will have to give.
Now is the Perfect Time to Become a Travel Nurse
Patients around the United States are in desperate need of your nursing skills and expertise. You became a nurse to make a difference. An impact. Now is the right time to help out those patients who are in the most desperate need of your services to truly make a difference in their lives.
In addition to helping out communities and vulnerable populations, you also stand to gain the lucrative travel nursing benefits that are often cited as the initial draw for a registered nurse who decides to become a travel nurse.
At Elite Specialty Staffing, our nurses come first. When you work with us you can also expect:
- High Travel Nurse Pay
- Flexible Nursing Work Schedule
- Full-Time Hourly Bonus
- Weekly Payroll Direct Deposit
- Travel Expenses Reimbursement
- Employee Referral Bonus
- Liability Insurance and Worker’s Compensation
- Health, Vision, and Dental Insurance
- Free Private Housing
- Tax Advantage Plan
Ready to take the leap? Is it your turn to trade in your permanent address to become a travel nurse? Contact us today by calling 208-378-1338 and a travel nurse recruiter or staffing specialist will be happy to discuss lucrative opportunities to work with us at Elite Specialty Staffing.