If you’re asking yourself that question, no worries. Lots of people of all professions are asking themselves that question right now. Different states are opening back up, bit by bit and mostly in phases, but the key is they are opening back up. But what does that mean specifically for travel nurses?
What Can Travel Nurses Expect this Summer?
Here we are, rolling through the month of May, which means summer is right around the corner. Traditionally we travel nurses see a slowdown in the summer months. The summer slowdown means many of you live on a budget and save as much as you can throughout the year in order to use the slower summer months for either taking contracts that are a lower rate than the peak months, or simply taking some time off.
Living on a budget, and having savings set back remain important for you this summer. So, keep to that budget, and hold off on blowing your savings, because this summer is going to be a bit of a mixed bag.
In the face of the COVID 19 pandemic, lots of facilities and hospitals stopped performing elective procedures. Now that things are opening back up, those medical facilities and hospitals will be getting back to business. Patients that delayed procedures and treatments that were considered nonessential or non-urgent will begin scheduling those procedures. The back log may result in a higher intake rate than facilities typically see in the summer months. Those of you with work experience or specialties in the operating room, intensive care units, post anesthesia care units, may be surprised at the opportunities that present themselves.
Should Travel Nurses Accept Extensions?
Yes! Yes! And once more, yes! If you are currently in a travel nursing contract that is coming to an end and the hospital or facility offers you an extension by all means accept that extension! Unless the assignment is bad for your mental or physical health I would urge you to accept it.
As I said, hospitals, practices, and facilities are reopening and will be working to get back to business, but that will all take time. Lots of states are reopening in phases, and are putting capacity limits in place. You can expect that hospitals will want to get back to good intake numbers as soon as they can, yet keep in mind there will be limits to how quickly that proceeds.
If you are offered an extension, that bit of job security and financial income will only benefit you as the medical field tries to reorient itself.
Pay Rates and Contracts
The pandemic had travel nursing contracts bouncing all over the place. Some rates were abnormally high for those of you willing to go work the frontlines. Others experienced disappointment and even insecurity at having travel nursing contracts being cancelled.
The surge in pay rates was a temporary change, and we are already seeing travel nursing contract pay rates going back to their more normal rates. That is not a bad thing however, because with the resumption of normal pay rates we are also seeing more stability in the postings offered.
Be Flexible and Be Open
Being flexible with regards to location is important. Maybe you are really wanting something along the coast for the summer months, but those spots aren’t picking back up yet. Being flexible means maybe you take an assignment in a location that offers lakes instead. Or maybe you back off the idea of water completely and do something totally different like mountains.
Be open to opportunities in places that you’ve never considered going before. Consider a travel assignment in a more rural area, or a city that doesn’t appear on the top ten hot places to visit lists. You may find that spending a summer in a place that you don’t have high expectations of could turn out to be full of experiences that become memory gems for you.
This isn’t forever you guys. The economy will recover, and the job market will as well. Things take time and if your financial situation requires that you be working this summer, being flexible and being open are your best bets for finding travel nursing contracts.
When applying for job postings, keep in mind you need to be competitive right now. Emphasize your work experience and all your special certifications. Now might be a good time to work on a certification that you’ve had your eye on. Anything to give you an edge can be important right now.
Keep Those Licenses Active!
Do you have active licenses in multiple states? If you’ve a nursing license in another state that you were thinking to let expire or go to inactive status, reconsider! Having active nursing licenses in other states can also help you with that competitive edge we just talked about.
Consider also a compact license. The Nurse Licensure Compact allows nurses to cross state boarders easily to work. The NLC doesn’t allow work in every single state of the U.S. but a large number of states have implemented and if in doubt, you can look by following this link.
We know this is a bizarre time to be a travel nurse. No one can say with 100% certainty what this summer and the rest of the year will hold. What we can say for sure is that being smart with your money, being open and flexible, and being competitive will help. Give us a call today and we can discuss how you can be both a competitive and valued part of our fleet of travel nurses.