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The Nursing Shortage and Travel Nurses

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Nursing has been a rewarding career choice for many people. Among the various reasons for selecting it as a pathway, job stability is one of the most valuable. Nurses have always been in demand, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the need for RNs is expected to increase by 15% until the year 2026. There is a current nursing shortage due, in part, to increased demand for healthcare services, legislation requiring nurse-patient ratios, impacted nursing programs, and a high number of nurses retiring from the field.

The states with the highest deficit of RNs include:

  • California (almost three times the deficiency of the next state, Texas)
  • Texas
  • New Jersey
  • South Carolina
  • Alaska

One of the ways organizations combat the nursing shortage is to utilize travel nurses. Nursing is a unique profession due to the fact that if there are not enough nurses to meet patient demand, patient care and safety suffer. Travel nurses help fill the gap between nurse supply and patient care demand.

Many nurses enjoy working in the role of a travel nurse. They can explore new cities or states, and sometimes even other countries. They have the freedom to choose their assignment, schedule, and benefits packages. They learn new skills every day and, at times, even a new specialty. They can take each travel experience and apply it to their next endeavors, which has lasting benefits not only for their patients, but for their personal career trajectory as well.

While travel nurses enjoy the perks of the job, organizations and patients can benefit as well. Each assignment allows nurses to pick up new skills, building upon their knowledge base with each one. They can bring unique ideas and perspective to an organization who has more of a “siloed” staff. In short, best practices are shared.

Travel nurses also help improve patient satisfaction. When nurses are understaffed, they are stretched too thin. Patient care delays, injuries, and other adverse outcomes occur as a direct result of a nursing shortage. Since travel nurses help “fill the gap” between nurse supply and patient demand, patient care needs are met, thereby increasing satisfaction. In today’s world of healthcare in which patients can select where to get their healthcare services, patient satisfaction is often a goal for many organizations. The happier the patient, the more likely they are to stay with the provider.

Travel nursing is an exciting adventure for nurses that benefits patients as well. This insider look provides more details as to why travel nursing is so high in demand. Learn more information or view current travel nurse opportunities here.

Contributor Ron Washburn

Ron is currently the executive vice president of Soliant and has been with the company for more than 28 years now. He oversees our nursing and allied health division and has been with Soliant since its small beginnings in the early 90s. He’s an integral part of our organization, and not only hosts trainings for our groups but manages company events and continues to run a desk of clients and candidates. He is experienced in contract placement, recruiting, permanent placement and internet recruiting within the healthcare industry. Ron possesses a Master's degree focused on Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship from Georgia State University. Don’t forget to check out the rest of his blogs!