This article provided by: TaleMed
Where are travel nurses needed?
This last decade has seen a spike in demand for travel nurses. A reinvigorated national economy and the Affordable Care Act increasing patient coverage have all contributed to this rising need for temporary nurse staffing.
But where are travel nurses needed? A retiring Baby Boomer population, natural disasters and new state laws all contribute to travel nurse demand varying from state to state and season to season.
States with the Highest Demand
What states have the highest demand for travel nurses? Ask anyone in the healthcare industry and they’ll tell you the usual suspects:
• California is predicted to have a shortage of 44,500 registered nurses by 2030, according to a 2017 Health Resources and Services administration report. This is especially urgent considering California’s population size and the law requiring a specific nurse-to-patient ratio.
• South Florida’s population 65 and older rose from 8.6% to 17.3% between 1950 and 2010 and will grow another 23% by 2045, based on projections from the University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research.
• Illinois may face a shortage of 21,000 nurses by 2020, according to the Illinois Nursing Workforce Center. This will be exacerbated by one-third of registered nurses 55 and older retiring within the next five years.
• Colorado faces a nurse shortage as 35% of licensed RNs are over 55, data from the Center for Nursing Excellence shows.
For the rest of the country, the reasons are varied, wide-ranging and can change throughout the year.
Travel Nurses are Truly Lifesavers for Hospitals in Need
Seasonal influxes play a big part in travel nurse demand. “Winter brings a big swing in the census,” says Ross Gabbard, TaleMed Staffing Team Lead. “Especially in Arizona, Florida and Southeastern Georgia, that’s where the snowbirds head.” With facility expansions, nurse shortages and Baby Boomers approaching retirement age, the simplest and most reliable solution to an influx of patients is travel nurses.
Rapid response is also a big priority for hospitals seeking travel nurses. This is when travel nurses need to start in two days to two weeks rather than the traditional four to eight weeks. Sometimes the need for rapid response stems from a natural or man-made disaster, but that’s not always the case. Often, the need stems from unit openings, emergency responses, EMR conversions and upgrades, and an unexpected acute fluctuation in staffing or patient loads, such as flu season.
Remote locations can also be hard to fill. “When you’re fresh out of nursing school, you’re looking for ideal locations,” Ross explains. “Grand Forks, North Dakota isn’t always high on someone’s list, so those are the gaps travel nurses can fill.”
Travel nurses are also lifesavers for full-time staffers on temporary leave, according to Ross. “Maternity and paternity leave is huge,” he says. “It’s bigger than you would think.”
Be Prepared for Any State
Having the right licensure increases your chances to work in the states you want . Research the Nurse Licensure Compact states to know where you can practice without obtaining additional licenses.
Ultimately, it’s your responsibility to know where you can work — and where you dream of working. Be prepared for open positions in New England, Alaska and anywhere else that needs you.
Not all states provide a quick licensure turnaround of 48 hours. In California, it can take up to six months to process licensure paperwork. Many staffing agencies will assist with or reimburse licensing fees, but that’s a good question to .
Ross advises that you need to have a game plan. “Sit down and do research with your recruiter,” he says. “Nail down cities and states you want to travel to in the long run.” Even before that, it’s a good idea to reach out to nurses who have traveled before. Have a long-term goal and plan accordingly.
Dream big. Live big.
Travel nurse staffing offers a lot of choice, flexibility and adventure. To make the most out of travel nursing, it’s important to know your options and requirements. With some research and help from a great travel nurse company you can be ready for anything.
We hope that this article is helpful in knowing where travel nurses are needed. There are many other options for assignments.