Long used to find nurses from other areas when workers in the immediate area were in short supply — as well as to create a more flexible, adjustable healthcare workforce — travel nurse recruitment was already on the increase prior to 2020.
For instance, a HealthLeaders report from June, 2019 pointed out that the use of travel nurses had increased by 7% compared to the year before, with more than 1 in 10 hospitals using at least two dozen of the traveling professionals to help meet their patient care obligations.
And even before the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a segment of the travel nurse workforce prepared to work urgent-need “crisis assignments.” These crisis nurses could be mobilized in just a week or two to help facilities affected, even indirectly, by an outbreak, natural disaster or other extraordinary situation.
“This type of assignment may be appealing to hospitals because they do not require the 13-week commitment that many other travel companies require,” explains Nurse.org. “This means that agencies offering these types of assignments have the ability to offer travelers a larger selection of shorter and higher-paying assignments.”
That kind of career versatility suits a certain type of nursing professional — the type who are ready to jump in and help out in times of intense need. And now, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the use of travel nurses, with many facilities across the United States turning to new sources of healthcare professionals to meet intensified and highly specialized demand.
Travel Nurse Recruitment Report: More Nurses Seeking Travel Jobs
According to the 2020 Travel Nurse Recruitment Report from TravelNurseSource.com, a directory for placement opportunities for nurses seeking travel assignments, more nurses than ever are stepping up to help during this current time of need: The report notes an 8% increase in nurses who are interested in working a travel nursing assignment.
In specific words, the report notes “a shift in the number of applicants stepping up to help with COVID-19,” as well as a shift in the type of specialties represented by those nurses. In the face of intensified need for ICU and med/surge nurses, 45% of applicants identified as their primary specialties as med/surg, ER/trauma, psych, long-term care and ICU.
Also worth noting is that demand for OR travel nurses, typically among the most requested specialty, has decreased by nearly 6%. While that certainly reflects the reduced capacity caused by the temporary ban on non-essential surgeries, it also shows the need for nurses to step up and sometimes work outside of their area of expertise.
The report identifies the states with the highest levels of job changes — i.e., where nurses are taking on new responsibilities to meet the demands of the moment — as those where the outbreak initially took hold, namely, New York, California, Louisiana and Washington State. But other, more surprising states on that list include Utah, Minnesota, Nevada and Nebraska.
The report also notes what’s long been understood by leading travel nurse companies — namely, that relatively new methods like social media and automation “are becoming more important than ever” in attracting the kind of qualified nurses needed to meet the challenge of these difficult times.
Finally, the report shows that crisis travel nurses want to help immediately, with most expecting to land a job within a few weeks of beginning their search. And for facilities that want to connect with these nurses, those advanced recruitment methods — and an existing, nationwide network of ready-to-work professionals — are more important than ever.
Travel Nurse Recruitment the ‘Frontline’ of COVID-19 Care
As the report so clearly points out, travel nurse recruitment companies “are the frontline to help hospitals source the growing need for nurses across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.
And as a leading provider of travel nurse recruitment services, that’s a responsibility we take seriously. We protect our nurses and crisis responders with great pay, strengthened infection protection policies, quarantine reimbursement and other benefits. And that peace of mind lets them better focus on the job at hand, instead of worrying about the future.
But there’s still much work to be done to meet the challenge of COVID-19. If your facility is in need of additional nursing staff, we can help. You can submit a nurse staffing request here, or contact us here to discuss how our travel nurse recruitment services and managed workforce solutions can help you meet your patient care needs, today and into the future.