The State of Travel Nursing

Staff shortages in healthcare were prevalent before COVID and are still a concern post-pandemic. Medical facilities still need to employ temporary staff, like travel nurses, to fill in the gaps in their workforces. Consider these six trends in the state of travel nursing today:

1. High demand persists

The demand for travel nurses remains stable because of staff turnover. A recent survey reveals that three out of 10 registered nurses plan to quit because of the effects of the pandemic.

Nurse satisfaction has consistently ranked high in comparison to other professions. However, in 2023, the national average dropped from 80-85 percent to 71 percent. According to nurses, a significant factor in job satisfaction is staff shortages and the expectation that it will only worsen.

Medical facilities can address the nursing shortage by bringing in travel nurses to fill vacancies. Temporary placements can also help them adjust staff based on patient numbers and relieve permanent staff of long shifts.

2. Competitive compensation

Travel nurses know their value, so compensation packages continue to be competitive. In addition to attractive travel nurse salaries, many assignments offer sign-on bonuses, housing stipends and benefits.

This trend will continue into 2024 as healthcare facilities see the importance of hiring skilled temporary workers to fill workforce gaps.

Incentives like referral programs are common for travel nurses who meet others in their field. Their staffing agency compensates them for referring a candidate who then completes a travel assignment.

3. Specialization

General travel nurses are still in demand, but there is a growing need for nurses with specialized training. Nursing positions that are currently in demand include:

  • Emergency room
  • Critical care (ICU)
  • Operation room (OR)
  • Radiology
  • Oncology
  • Medical surgery (med-surg)

Travel nurses can be more competitive candidates in the job market if they have specialized training. They may also get higher pay and placements in more desirable locations.

4. Work-life balance

Healthcare professionals, including travel nurses, are placing a higher emphasis on a healthy work-life balance to prevent burnout.

Knowing their profession’s emotional toll, travel nurses seek placements that allow flexible work schedules. Some nurses also prefer to take time off between assignments to recharge.

5. Technology

Electronic health records and mobile apps are the norm today as more healthcare facilities are streamlining their operations. Travel nurses must learn new systems to streamline communication and protect patient information during an assignment.

Medical facilities are adding protocols to maintain database security for temporary staff. Cyber safety measures will undoubtedly continue in 2024.

6. Diversity initiatives

Healthcare organizations are adding diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives to ensure fair hiring practices and an inclusive work environment.

They understand the importance of creating a diverse workforce representing their community. Travel nurses look for placements in supportive facilities so they can provide better patient care in a positive environment.

The state of travel nursing – what to expect in 2024

As priorities and technology evolve, many recent trends will become mainstays in the medical landscape. Here’s what to expect with the state of travel nursing in 2024 and beyond:

Continued demand

The demand for skilled travel nurses will remain as the current workforce begins to retire. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a projected 203,300 jobs for nurses each year through 2031.

Higher pay

As the cost of living increases, travel nurse pay will likely increase. The increase may mean higher hourly rates or more benefits, like health insurance coverage, housing stipends or bonuses.

Mental health concerns

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health says healthcare workers are more likely to have mental health issues.

Nurses work long hours with irregular shifts. As medical professionals, they undergo emotional and physical labor and face exposure to suffering and death. These work conditions can result in higher rates of mental health issues.

Medical facilities will need to provide more mental health resources and support to all staff, including travel nurses.

Enhanced training

Travel nurses may have more opportunities to develop their skills to meet the evolving needs of patients. Training benefits both nurses and the facilities they serve and ensures high-quality patient care across the board.

Leveraging technology

Technology will play a more significant role in matching travel nurses with assignments that align with their skills and preferences. This will result in more personalized experiences for travel nurses and healthcare facilities.

As more health care organizations use telehealth for patient care, more travel nurses may be able to work remotely. Instead of providing care in person, they would work with patients through virtual consultations.

TinkBird travel nurse placements

Our travel nursing agency stays abreast of the state of travel nursing and can help you meet your goals. We value the skills and high level of care travel nurses give to their patients.

TinkBird Healthcare Staffing shows our appreciation by offering attractive travel nursing jobs. We help our nurses negotiate competitive compensation and attractive travel nursing benefits.

Contact our recruiters to learn more about all the reasons to work with TinkBird for your assignments.

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