This article was provided by Travel Nurse Across America.
The healthcare job market has seen unexpected fluctuations over the past 1.5 years. A few months ago, we heard that the demand for travel nurses was greater than the supply due to COVID-19. That number significantly decreased in March 2021 with the COVID-19 vaccination rollout. It then skyrocketed again in June 2021 as a result of life returning to (somewhat) normal. Although it’s not the industry’s typical busy season, hospital schedules are again filling up with elective surgeries and other healthcare needs.
Within this fluctuating market, many healthcare travelers are also seeing a drop in the weekly pay rates offered. While pay has decreased from crisis rates, which hospitals cannot sustain without assistance, many travel nurse agencies are still reporting an average wage higher than pre-pandemic rates. To find the right jobs with the right pay for you, be sure to tap into your agency’s resources.
What to do in a post-pandemic job market
Know Where to Look for In-Demand Specialties
You might not have time to research industry trends, but your recruiter and agency have a real-time pulse on the market. While the number of COVID-19 jobs is dropping, the demand for other specialties is growing exponentially. You have to know where to look.
Elective surgeries and other non-emergency needs on the back burner during the height of COVID-19 are again coming to the forefront. The demand is high for MedSurg, TELE, ER, and ICU specialties, and increased demand for OR nurses is expected later this year. Ask your agency contacts what trends they are seeing in regions you are interested in visiting and find the place where you will be most helpful next.
Make Yourself as Marketable as Possible
Several factors go into your marketability as a travel nurse, the most obvious factor being the information you include on your resume. Your agency’s clinical department should work with you to create a standout travel nurse profile. Ask your clinical director how they can help you secure the right licenses and certifications to be eligible for higher-paying jobs. Consider being a member of national nursing associations and add your COVID-19 experience to make your resume even more impressive.
Your marketability also goes beyond your travel nurse profile. Hiring managers will look for important soft skills, such as flexibility, adaptability, and the ability to resolve conflict. Be sure to mention these soft skills and any examples that you can provide in your job interviews.
Use Your Agency’s Financial Resources to Save Money
Your agency’s financial resources may help you save money and offset some of your costs. See if your agency has travel reimbursement programs, deals, and discount programs, 401k matching, or access to financial advisors through an Employee Assistance Program. All of these can help you save an extra buck.
Keep in mind. There will always be some assignments that pay more and some that pay less. Weigh your options, use your agency’s resources – from getting assistance on your resume to using programs to save money, and make the best decision in your current situation. Just make sure you pick an agency that has your back through it all.
If you are looking for your next travel nurse assignment in the post-pandemic job market? Click here to visit our job board.