Healthcare Staffing Trends: Travel Nurse Staffing during Covid-19

Last Updated on December 19, 2022

healthcare clinicians wearing scrubs and stethoscope inside a white healthcare facilities

The importance of travel nursing has surged during the Covid-19 pandemic. What should healthcare providers and facilities know about this important healthcare staffing trend?

In August, Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) published a new Pulse Survey exploring the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on healthcare staffing trends. Highlighting what has been a noted feature throughout a tumultuous 2020, the survey found that travel nurse staffing remained the segment with the most growth and demand, among only three others:

  • travel nurse staffing (21% median growth)
  • allied staffing (11%)
  • locum tenens staffing (10%)
  • per diem staffing (6%)

There’s more. These four segments don’t just represent the only growth in healthcare staffing. Travel and per diem nursing, locum tenens and allied staffing are the only staffing segments in the U.S. economy to record positive growth at all, in any industry.

Of course, that will come as no surprise to insiders. Long known for offering flexibility and scalability to healthcare workforce management, those four staffing segments are obviously well situated to deal with the many challenges facing the industry today. And these challenges — the ongoing battle against Covid-19, the volatile state of the larger economy and the intense need for qualified nurses, clinicians and other healthcare professionals in just about every state (and globally, as well) — are unlikely to end anytime soon.

Yet healthcare organizations should note the sharp rise in demand for travel nurse staffing with some caution. With many companies now scrambling to put together a travel nursing portfolio to meet this sudden need, how can you know which travel nurse staffing provider is right for you? Which can you really trust to deliver exceptional and reliable service during a time of crisis?

Despite few segments of high demand noted above, the overall outlook for the healthcare industry is hardly a net positive, with many providers reporting big losses. Staffing companies outside of the crucial travel nursing and allied recruitment sectors have struggled to keep up with an industry suddenly focused on the need for critical care and med/surg RNs, respiratory therapists and a handful of other specialties.

A great deal of that demand comes not just from the need to treat Covid-19 patients, but also the need to fill other vacancies in communities where standard care has been disrupted by the spring’s temporary ban on elective procedures. The effects continue to reverberate months later, and has included the permanent closure of a number of smaller-market hospitals and health centers. As a result, healthcare workers in those areas have both been in higher demand, while also paradoxically finding it difficult to find employment.

Travel nursing has emerged as a strong answer to provide the solution to both sides of that dilemma. According to the SIA Pulse Survey, travel nursing was the only healthcare staffing segment that had a positive year-over-year result in the summer of 2020. Yet make no mistake — not all travel nursing providers are created equally.

Checklist: Choosing The Right Travel Nursing Company

Full disclosure: At CareerStaff Unlimited, travel nurse staffing is among our specialties, regardless of where it sits on the current list of healthcare staffing trends. We’ve spent many years creating a dynamic, responsive nationwide network of travel nurses (and other clinicians) and have earned some great partnerships in the process.

And because we take pride in the quality of the travel nursing services we provide, we’re also experts on what works. With that in mind, we’ve put together a quick checklist of 5 essential elements you should look for in your next travel nurse staffing partner:

  • Locations across the country. We’ve got offices in 26 locations across the United States, helping to ensure not just responsiveness but also follow-through with local candidates.
  • Professionals in every specialty. From ICU/critical care RNs to respiratory therapists and many points in between, CareerStaff’s nationwide network includes nurses and clinicians of all types.
  • A reputation for excellence. As a long-standing, well-known brand for nursing and allied professionals, CareerStaff’s reputation as a preferred travel nursing company makes for a dedicated, motivated team of professionals.
  • A people-first culture. We’re proud of our recent ranking as a Great Place to Work® and its demonstration of the passion our recruiters and administrators have for the mission of providing reliable, top-quality healthcare staffing.
  • Rave reviews from travelers. The nurses and allied clinicians who travel with us appreciate our dedication to their needs. “Honestly, everyday working with CareerStaff has gotten better and better,” as one nurse recently told us

Ready to get started with a new healthcare staffing solution? We’re standing by to help! You can submit a travel nurse request here, or contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a CareerStaff expert.

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