National Nurses Week: Exciting Travel Nursing Trends Discussed with a Healthcare Staffing Expert

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In recognition of National Nurses Week, a healthcare staffing expert from Aureus Medical Group shares insight on the current trends in nursing and what opportunities exist for the full time and travel nurse in this evolving field. National Nurses Week is celebrated annually May 6-12 to honor the important role nurses play in healthcare and in society.

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...the more they learn and know, the more marketable they will be for new assignments.

The future of nursing is influenced by many factors, from technology to a nationwide nursing shortage to an increase in educational requirements. Leslie Brown, branch manager of healthcare staffing company Aureus Medical Group, offers insight on these trends and how a travel nurse can make the most of the multitude of opportunities that exist in the nursing field.

Technology is reshaping travel nursing:

Widespread electronic health record implementation has been prevalent across the U.S. ever since the HITECH Act was introduced in 2009. Since then, three-fourths of U.S. hospitals have adopted at least a basic EHR system, according to a recent data brief from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. This means that nurses have become very familiar with EHRs over the past few years.

Brown states that overall, these innovations have made nursing routines more efficient and safe, especially since EHRs allow medical staff to make fewer medication errors due to online records and scanning capabilities. Additionally, she indicates that interoperability through EHRs has allowed communication between members of the medical team to become much easier.

In order for nurses to remain marketable for travel nursing jobs and full-time positions, they must become "lifelong learners" of this type of technology, according to Brown, as EHRs have become standard in most healthcare settings.

"There is continuing education both online and in the classroom ... but EMR training is best done on the job, hands-on. Taking assignments that will teach different EMR systems will be the travelers' best way to learn. Hospitals throughout the country use different charting systems, so the more they learn and know, the more marketable they will be for new assignments," Brown explains.

Another major trend seen in the healthcare industry is the influence of value-based care, which could mean that nurses will be preparing themselves to treat a patient population that is more educated.

Assignment location and specialty trends:

Brown indicates that many travel nurses are taking assignments in the southeastern states, but that there is also interest in Massachusetts, Michigan, Washington, Oregon and California. These trends make sense, especially since these are some of the most populous areas in the U.S.

When it comes to specialty assignments, Brown says there are also a variety of choices for travel nurses. One of the biggest areas seeing growth is MedSurg nursing, especially since it covers many types of patient care. ICU nurses also are in high demand because they are very specialized, and ER, OR and L&D nursing assignments are also popular.

Career moves with a BSN degree:

Brown mentions that a large proportion of nurses are looking to get their BSN degree by 2020, as many hospitals are making a push to have their nursing staff well-versed in the particulars outlined with this degree. She suggests that if nurses have the opportunity to further their education with a BSN, then they should do so.

"We talk to students and new graduates across the country every day. They are telling us that many positions now are requiring a BSN or at the least require that they are enrolled in a BSN program when they are hired," Brown explains.

Many of these educational opportunities are available online, which is perfect for a nurse already working with an organization or taking on travel nurse assignment. This means that there are several BSN educational opportunities to meet a nurse's individual needs and career path. Additionally, she says that many employers offer tuition reimbursements through these educational programs. For instance, Aureus Medical has such a program for nurses seeking an advanced degree, offering $12,000 per degree for tuition and books for qualified individuals.

Driving factors for the future of nursing:

The nursing shortage and an increased amount of Americans being enrolled with insurance plans are some of the biggest influences on nursing, which means that nurses need to be flexible when it comes to assignments. The more experience and specialties that nurses have under their belts, the more career opportunities they will have down the road.

"For example, if a MedSurg nurse can learn to read strips and work on a telemetry floor, she'll have more options. If a nurse on any unit has the chance to float to other units while working as a permanent staff member and learn new skills, that makes them more marketable," Brown shares.

Besides recent healthcare reforms making insurance more available to patients, Brown also says that baby boomers reaching retirement age is requiring an increase in medical care, as well as technological advancements allowing more people to become involved in the healthcare system.

Making the shift to travel nursing:

Another big trend for RNs is taking travel nursing assignments, both for flexibility and building a resume. Although there are a lot of benefits to transition a career from a full-time nurse to a travel nurse, Brown says it is critical that RNs are prepared. Many of the places where travel nurses take assignments might be short-staffed or experiencing organizational changes. Being a self-starter, having the ability to adapt and remaining open to new learning experiences and asking questions are all encouraged for future success in travel nursing.

About Aureus Medical Group:

Aureus Medical Group is a national leader in healthcare staffing specializing in the successful placement of professionals within the fields of nursing, therapy, medical laboratory, imaging, oncology, cardiopulmonary, neurodiagnostics, and more with hospitals and medical facilities nationwide. Aureus Medical also offers services in the areas of advanced practice and physician search. With more than 30 years of experience, Aureus Medical offers a full range of staffing options, including national contract (travel), local contract, and direct hire (full-time). Aureus Medical is the largest affiliate of Omaha-based C&A Industries, a leading provider of human capital management solutions for more than 45 years.

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Mary Carrick
Aureus Medical Group
+1 (402) 891-0009
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