The demand for travel doctors has been on an increasing trajectory recently. According to an article done by US Today, the demand is said to be at a 20-year high. While the situation is said to be positive, we should note that the increase in nurses’ demand stems from a shortage of nurses experienced nationwide.
The situation is referred to as a silver tsunami. This is a situation where a tidal wave of nurses’ retirement is happening as the population of senior citizens is spiking. The situation is termed dangerous since an estimated ninety percent of the healthcare services worldwide are provided by nurses.
The use of travel nurses have existed even before the national nursing shortage. However, their usage has surged recently as more hospitals and health facilities have found it hard to recruit and retain nurses.
Why Are Travel Nurses Important?
We cannot ignore the importance of travel nurses. If you’re probably wondering why the demand for a Pennsylvania travel nurse in hospitals, clinics, and other health facilities has taken an increasing trajectory, then these are reasons why. They include:
- They are great for temporary gaps
Travel nurses are an important part of the medical industry as they bridge the gap between the demand and supply in the nursing field. The mandatory nurse to patient ratio has led to increased patient safety and a decreased patient mortality. More and more states are passing the law about the implementation of this staffing ratio. Although this is a positive situation, the number of nurses required to fill these positions is not enough. Travel nurses are hence assigned these positions on a temporary contract of about thirteen weeks. This is a typical contract but can be renewed, extended, or shortened at the facility’s request.
Hospitals and other medical facilities will consider the services of a travel nurse due to many reasons such as:
- Offering support during peak seasons
- Covering for nurses during their off days due to personal or health issues
- To offer services at a temporary basis between the facility’s full-hires
- Travel nurses are cost-effective
In addition to filling temporary positions, hospitals also consider travel nurses’ services as they are cost-effective. Traditionally, hospitals found it expensive to cover the expenses of a travel nurse. Reality has now dawned on them as adopting travel nurses is less expensive than ever-climbing employment costs.
Travel nurses are employees of the agency. Hence, the hospital or health facility administration spared the costs of catering for the nurses’ health insurance, retirement, and paid-time-off (PTO). They also save on the time and resources required to recruit, train, and pay for overtime.
- They are great for positions considered hard to fill
Areas like ER are experiencing poor nurse-to-patient ratios. This has led to nurse burnout and subsequently resulted in a turnover. This situation has adversely affected hospitals and medical facilities in rural and low-populated areas as they experience a major problem of maintaining staff.
Travel nurses hence, make for efficient plug-ins in hard-to-fill areas. Hospital and medical facilities administration can use a travel nursing agency’s services to fill the voids instead of sitting on job openings for months. In addition to being efficient plug-ins, travel nurses cover various specialties, making them very useful for hospitals struggling to recruit nurses.
Hospital’s administration should, however, be careful when choosing the most suitable travel nursing agency to hire a Pennsylvania travel nurse.
How To Sign up as a Travel Nurse
If you enjoy traveling, exploring new and different cities, exploring different specialties, or learning new techniques, travel nursing is just one of the most exciting and rewarding careers to pursue. A travel nurse is a medical practitioner in the nursing field who works on nursing assignments temporarily, usually for between thirteen to twenty – six weeks at any given time and in different locations. Following the national nursing shortage experienced in the USA, travel nurses are among the most sought professions. As a travel nurse, you choose when and where to work.
The requirements for becoming a travel nurse include:
- A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or Associate of Science in Nursing (ADN)
If you are interested in travel nursing, you first must have a recognized degree in nursing. In addition to your degree, you should get registered as a Registered Nurse (RN). The ADN and BSN are the most popular and recognized nursing degrees, although there are other routes that you can follow.
- Sit for and score excellently in the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN)
This is a mandatory test that nurses sit for before they can commence their journey as registered nurses. It is a comprehensive and computer-based test that seeks to measure one’s understanding of fundamental concepts and skills required to practice as a nurse in the USA safely.
After graduation, the graduate nurses must seek a license to practice as nurses, in their respective states. After application, a bulletin is sent informing them of their candidacy to sit for the exam. They can now register for the exam, which is registered in four categories.
- Start practicing as a Registered Nurse
One of a travel nurse’s requirements is at least one year of working experience. Once you have graduated and passed the NCLEX-RN exam, you must practice as a nurse in a hospital or any other medical facility. Travel nurses are tasked with many diverse roles in any facility. The working experience prepares them for the career of travel nursing.
- Pursue professional development opportunities
Nurses interested in expanding their work experience without regularly switching job stations should consider professional development opportunities.
- Volunteering locally or across borders
There are many volunteer opportunities both locally and abroad for prospective travel nurses to jump in. Volunteer opportunities to under-served populations help them gain experience as well as work in new environments. Working in adversity and several challenges makes them the most sought for candidates by travel nursing agencies.
- Apply to join a travel nursing agency
A travel nurse accepts job tasks from agencies that serve health facilities located across the country. Travel nursing agencies relationships with hospitals, birthing facilities, medical clinics, doctors’ offices, and birthing facilities in urban and rural areas on a contractual basis. Their links also extend across the borders. As a travel nurse working with these staffing agencies, you have the freedom of choosing any healthcare facility, population of any size, and no specified area, city or state of the country or actually the country in which you wish to work.