Why Traveling Nurses Are In Such High Demand

Updated on May 8, 2021
traveling nurse

With more than 19 million COVID-19 cases in the United States, hospitals are overrun with patients and need as much help as possible. That’s why traveling nurses have been in such high demand lately. Thanks to these selfless professionals and help from the best nursing agencies, patients have been able to receive care at a crucial time. However, there are still worries about whether there’s enough help available to keep up with the needs of patients.

Staffing Shortages

During this pandemic, hospitals have been admitting more patients than their staff can keep up with. It puts a tremendous toll on them to work these marathon shifts. Worse still, many nurses and other medical professionals have contracted the coronavirus themselves.

With these gaps in staffing and patients continually being admitted, traveling nurses can be like a beacon of hope. However, hospitals know this doesn’t come without a price. The increased demand for traveling nurses also comes with increased asking prices.

Traveling Nurse Rates

In November, traveling nurses working in ICUs were earning almost 28 percent more than they were at the same time in 2019. These average paychecks of more than $2,200 are a great incentive. The ceiling doesn’t stop there, either. One Georgia hospital has reportedly offered $13,000 per week for traveling nurse services.

Is It Worth It?

The increased pay for traveling nurses is definitely a great incentive, along with being able to explore different regions and meet new people. However, when amidst a pandemic, it’s understandable why you’d want to be careful.

Any hospital that reaches out to you needs to earn your confidence. Ask them specific questions that show you won’t let yourself be treated as disposable. You might only be there temporarily, but that doesn’t mean you have to expect substandard treatment.

Location Matters

Another important thing to keep in mind is the location of your traveling nursing job. Beyond the hospital, what is the area like? Has there been a surge in cases recently? Do they require citizens to wear masks in public places, such as stores and restaurants? It can be concerning to take a job in a town with lots of cases. If you do, make sure you’re protected as much as possible. This is important for your health, as well as that of your patients and fellow medical workers.

Will It Subside?

With COVID-19 vaccinations beginning rollout, hope is on the horizon after a very difficult 2020. However, that doesn’t mean hospitals are just going to see their admissions numbers plummet overnight. It will take months before everyone gets vaccinated. For the time being, hospitals will continue having their beds occupied. As a result, traveling nurses will continue to be in high demand.

Do I Need Special Qualifications To Be A Traveling Nurse?

If you’re a nurse who knows how to book a flight or drive a car, you can be a traveling nurse. The biggest quality needed for this position is flexibility. Think about how well you can roll with the punches and handle new challenges. You’re going to meet a lot of new people and have to adjust to some new surroundings.

This can be tough for people, even when there isn’t an ongoing pandemic. It’s totally natural to need to do some soul-searching before deciding to become a traveling nurse. Think about how you can help people in need, as well as overburdened hospital staff. No, you won’t be able to fix everything yourself. However, your presence can really make a difference. There are tens of thousands of traveling nurses working in the United States on any given day. You’d better believe all of them are important.

How Can I Stay Safe?

Working in the medical field doesn’t mean you have to surrender yourself to illness. When you’re working with people who you know have COVID-19, you cannot leave anything to chance. Follow all necessary protocols for PPE, ensuring there’s a proper boundary between yourself and any infected or potentially infected people.

You should also monitor your health, being aware of any signs of the virus, such as a loss of taste and smell, fatigue, and congestion. Should something seem amiss, get yourself tested right away. A positive test can be frightening, but it’s far better than being uncertain and potentially putting more people at the risk along the way.

Is It Safe to Travel?

The best way to travel during a pandemic is via your own vehicle. While airports are employing social distancing and sanitizing tactics, the flow of bodies makes things a lot more uncertain. If you have to travel via plane or other mass transit, such as bus or train, stay on alert. Keep your distance, make sure you have a mask on at every possible occasion, and practice good hygiene.

Will I Get to Choose My Schedule?

As a traveling nurse, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to set your hours. It’s likely you’ll end up working late shifts. Focus on the benefits of your pay rather than getting hung up on the schedule. Modify your sleep schedule accordingly so you can handle waking up at an unusual time. If you’ve been a nurse long enough, you should be used to working at all hours of the day.

How Will This Affect My Family Life?

You wouldn’t want to become a traveling nurse without consulting your family. This is a big decision to make for one person. If you have a spouse and/or children, you need to think about what’s best for them as well. Emphasize the financial benefits and how you’ll be focusing on your safety. Work on making this not an argument but a mature decision.

The traveling nurse lifestyle isn’t for just anyone. You need to know how to adapt while maintaining the necessary energy for a demanding career. Traveling nurses are needed now more than ever, and this could be the start of an incredible new point in your career. Are you ready to take it? Look for a nursing agency in your region to find work as a traveling nurse.

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