Future of Travel Nursing After COVID-19

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The Coronavirus pandemic has transformed the world. Nurse staffing agency, American Traveler, predicts how it will transform the nursing profession.

“Our support staff heard many stories from nurses: sleepless nights, never-ending stress, repeated loss of patients, consoling family members -- along with concern for their own health and the health of their loved ones.” -- Tory Lyons, Senior Recruitment Manager

Nurses have not only served as clinicians, but also as a support system for many patients and their families. They held the hands of the sick and dying so that patients were not alone during their final hours. Nurses have also celebrated victories of recovery.

A Newfound Appreciation for Nurses

One positive outcome of the pandemic is likely to be that more young people, regardless of gender, race or ethnicity, now see nursing as a heroic profession and choose it as a career. It is also hoped that experienced RNs -- some of whom may be ready to step back from the floor -- choose to become nursing instructors. Hiring qualified educators is a key to reversing the long-time U.S. nursing shortage.

Gratitude for Travel Nurses Who Fortified the Front Lines

As patient acuity grew, and the number of COVID-19 positive patients increased, travel nurses stepped in to support permanent staff. Travel nurses, so-named because they “travel” to hospitals where they are needed, were able to fill many of the gaps. Nursing shortages were particularly dire in the ICU, in Progressive Care units, and in Med/Surg units. Hospitals were desperate for staff, and pay increased accordingly.

When the Coronavirus first peaked in April of 2020, American Traveler saw a 600% increase in the number of interested applicants. Some candidates had been out of practice for a time; many were recent nursing school graduates. All had an earnest desire to help. They knew they were needed, in spite of the risks.

Changes in the Travel Nursing Landscape After COVID

The pay rates for travel nurses have decreased from the peak of the pandemic, but the demand for supplemental staffing remains strong. Although many areas throughout the country have started to control COVID-19, there are still locations that need help. For RNs who specialize in areas other than critical care, the good news is that elective procedures and Emergency Room visits continue to rise -- and not just for COVID-19 cases.

Travel as a Way to Easing Back Into or Out of Nursing

Staff RNs who chose to step back from full-time nursing have the option to ease their way back into the job with a travel nursing job, knowing that they can take a break between jobs, and work when and where they like.

The pandemic has proven once again to the healthcare community that travel nurses are a vital resource. Whatever form the next nationwide healthcare crisis takes, travelers will be on the recovery team.

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nurse after covid