2022 Will Bring the Unexpected to the Travel Healthcare Staffing Industry
Year three of the pandemic brings with it certainly some trepidation, a healthy dose of hope, and a lot of determination. Of course, a whole host of other feelings as well, but those three correlate closely with our projections for trends in the healthcare sector this upcoming year. Let’s dig in, shall we?
Consistent with projections for the last few years, job opportunities will continue to be broad and varied. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for registered nurses is growing at a rate of 9%, for licensed practical nurses also at 9%, and for nursing assistants at a rate of 8%.
Moreover, this category isn’t specific to nurses. Allied health staff positions across the board are rising in demand. Physicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech therapists are all occupations that have had significant projected growth for years according to the BLS. Some of the reasoning behind this is simple statistics as demand rises alongside the increase of necessary medical care for the aging baby boomer generation. The job growth rate for occupational therapists is 17%, for physical therapists, it is 21%, for speech-language pathologists it is 29%, for home health and personal care aides it is a whopping 33% and for dietitians and nutritionists a growth rate of 11%.
Additionally, the Big Quit, also referred to as the Great Resignation, has seen a mass exit of workers from jobs across industry sectors. Healthcare facilities aren’t the only employers in need of IT and cleaning staff and competition will likely be fierce.
We’ve participated over the last two years in a wild roller coaster ride of travel nursing pay packages. There’ve been locations offering eye-brow raising pay contracts, desperate for nurses, and then had lulls where we were all scratching our heads wondering what would happen next. We expect the roller coaster ride to continue this year.
As staffing continues to be a challenge for facilities across the map we’ll definitely see some impressive high-paying opportunities. The key is to be on the lookout, and ready to go where the money takes you. If that’s not your style, however, no problem. Some of our most experienced travel nurses have staying power because instead of following the money, they follow their desires. Talk to your recruiter about your priorities, this is your career and your life after all.
It follows logical thinking that as we continue to grapple with serious staffing shortages, the industry will look to expand learning opportunities for potential future staff. If you’re an LPN and have considered doing a bridge to BSN but never had the time, this year might be it for you! According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, nearly 82% of nurse employers prefer nurses with a BSN.
Online classes and even simulated training are being put to use. You could schedule this between travel contracts, or even organize it alongside your various destinations throughout the year. There is even research to suggest that virtual simulation training can improve your knowledge retention, increase your learning satisfaction, and improve your clinical reasoning skills. This can level you up in your nursing career, and make you more competitive for those holy grail travel nurse contracts. It’s definitely something to consider.
In a November (2021) press release, several Chicago health systems (Advocate Aurora Health, Sinai Chicago, and University of Chicago Medicine) announced their Healthcare Forward initiative which combines free training with a promise of a job interview to “economically distressed communities”. The purpose is stated as to demystify the healthcare job industry by providing an orientation on potential healthcare careers and free training to anyone with a high school diploma or GED. This is an exciting development for the city of Chicago and should serve as an example. As staffing remains a challenge across the country, we expect to see more big systems pooling their resources to recruit.
Burnout has long been a challenge for the nursing industry, even prior to the COVID pandemic. Nurses unions, nursing advocacy groups, and respected healthcare agencies have long advocated that healthcare employers must work to foster resiliency, a safe working environment, and prioritize the mental health of their workers. By year three of the pandemic, we fully expect facilities to be sitting up, taking notes, and making moves to implement changes. Hospitals and facilities simply cannot avoid the issue any longer. Not with staffing such a long-term challenge at this point. Every single nurse lost to burnout is actually years or even decades of knowledge, experience, and mentorship, gone.
The prospect of being quarantined in a long-term care facility is untenable for many now. More than ever, people will be utilizing home health care to avoid facility living. The Choose Home Care Act introduced to our governmental legislative bodies in 2021 seeks to increase Medicare benefits for more home health care services, remote monitoring, and telehealth services. We’ll be watching hopefully for this Act to pass this year. According to IBIS World, the home health care industry market size in 2021 was $109.6bn. Consider that with the BLS job projections for home health care workers at 33% (as mentioned above), this projection is all but a foregone conclusion for 2022.
If you’re grappling with the idea of becoming a travel nurse, you aren’t alone. It’s a big decision, and one that necessitates an honest analysis of yourself, your present circumstances, and your goals both personal and professional. We employ a dedicated talent pool of RNs, LPNs, and CNAs in contracts across the country. We care for our travel clinicians the way you care for your patients. Browse our benefits and informative blog articles for more information and contact us today!