Travel nurses are, quite literally, saving the day this year. At the beginning of the year, we were seeing huge numbers of travel nursing contracts at incredible high-paying postings, some with signing bonuses in hotspots areas such as New York and the state of Washington. As quarantine and lockdown measures in states across the nation took effect, we saw the rise of COVID-19 numbers ebb, and yet they rose again.

Emergency Response for COVID-19 Hotspots

Elite Specialty Staffing has always sent travel nurses where they are needed and want to go, but this year we have also been sending nurses to the COVID-19 frontlines, through our Emergency Response Initiative. The locations have varied, as we’ve seen COVID-19 hotspots pop up in various places, but our nurses have gone willingly to help local nurses and medical staff shoulder the burden placed on their shoulders and on their spirits.

In addition to being vital to fill staffing gaps and increase nursing numbers to account for swells in hospital patient intake, our nurses have a few skills that prove fundamental for this type of measure: the ability to hit the ground running in a new workplace, and experience.

States may no longer be in “lockdown” mode and in some places, it may even seem as if life has gone back to normal, but COVID-19 has not left. There are hotspots across the country and as facilities gear up for flu season, the demand has never been higher for travel nurses.

Expediting Travel Nursing Licenses

In areas where COVID-19 numbers surge, so do our travel nursing contract opportunities. In some instances, arranging these travel nursing contracts has been easier than ever before. Many states suffering from nursing shortages have expedited the state licensing process for nurses, allowing the traveling nurse to receive their visiting state’s nursing license in as little as a day or two.

Other states have found a renewed appreciation for the Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) that is an agreement amongst member states to allow RNs with nurses in a member state to practice in other member states. To read more about an eNLC please read our post, “National Nursing License: What is It and Is It Needed?

Nursing Specialties in Highest Demand

As you might expect, some nursing specialties are more highly sought than others. For communities dealing with COVID-19 surges, the specialties most needed and therefore with the most impressive pay packages are typically Emergency Department, Critical Care, Intensive Care Unit, Medical Surgery, and Telemetry. Unsurprising considering the increase of people being received by the emergency room and patients hospitalized with severe cases of COVID-19 need a higher level of care.

Perhaps less expected is that we’ve also seen a surge in the need for nurses with specialties such as Operating Room, PACU, and Surgical Technician. Hospitals and surgery centers that once closed down their non-emergency surgeries and furloughed staff are now working desperately to schedule and perform previously delayed and canceled operations.

Hard Times for Nurses

We’ve seen concerns in the media from nurses and nursing unions regarding the appropriate supply of PPE and overwhelming staff to patient ratios. There is no doubt that it is a nervous time for nurses and travel nurses alike in some regards. While some areas have a high demand for nurses, others have been furloughed.

If you’ve been furloughed, consider filling your temporary gap in employment by becoming a travel nurse for the period of your furlough. You can earn a higher income for the contract period on a travel nursing contract than you would in your regular employment. Additionally, you can take the opportunity to go to a new place and work without having to make a serious long-term commitment.

Keep Your Nursing Compliance Documents Current

It’s important that you keep an eye on your continuing education needed for both your license and any special certifications you may have. States may not be in lockdown, but courses to earn your necessary credits may be harder to find. Keep working on them a bit at a time, don’t wait until the last minute and have to scramble to find a virtual class that has availability.

Tips for Travel Nurses Working Now

This is the time to flex your skills muscles as much as you’re already flexing your physical muscles in your work:

  1. Focus on being adaptable
  2. Focus on being flexible
  3. Be open to working in different clinical settings
  4. Be open to floating to different units
  5. Be open to different shifts
  6. Be open to different contract lengths

Being those six things will help ensure that you are seen as a valued member of the medical facility you are placed in. Every single one of those tips will expand your skills, expand your knowledge, and expand your networking with other staff and management.

Wash Hands, Social Distance, Wear a Mask

It’s so important to not get caught up in the “everything is fine and normal” train of thought. You are being super careful when at work, using PPE, and washing your hands like crazy. However, we know that many people in communities aren’t being careful. Take care of yourself and your family members and friends even when you’re not at work. Masks, social distancing, and frequent handwashing should remain a priority for you, even if it isn’t for your friends and family

Apply for a Travel Nursing Job with Elite Specialty Staffing

We have record-high numbers of travel nursing contracts available, and in some cases, almost double the usual income being offered at certain postings. There is no questioning that your talent and skills are needed. The question is, are you ready and willing to get started? Apply with Elite Specialty Staffing today, and reap the travel nursing benefits that come with being a valued member of our team. You aren’t just needed, you are wanted.

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Written by Miranda Booher, RN

As a twelve-year Registered Nurse with a healthy background in travel nursing and healthcare marketing, Miranda brings an interesting combination of stellar copywriting skills and first-hand nursing experience to the table. Miranda understands the industry and has a impeccable ability to write about it. And speaking of travel - Miranda currently lives in Uruguay, though she maintains an active Registered Nurse license in the state of Ohio and stays current on the latest healthcare news through her writing. When she is not creating killer copy, or serving others through her work as a nurse, you can find her hanging out on the beach with her loyal husband, three crazy kids, and their beautiful German Shepherd-Husky dog.

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