The demand for nurses is high across the country.  Because of this, the average travel nurse salary is higher than that of an RN that lives and works locally.  This can be explained simply: higher need equals higher pay. But why exactly is there such a need in the field of travel nursing?

1. Travel nursing was created to meet increasing demand.

Before travel nursing, hospitals and clinics were generally staffed by people from the surrounding area.  This meant that a nurse in one place could easily find a job because her town lacked RNs while one in another city had to fight for the single open spot in his local clinic.  While some areas have a good number of qualified RNs, the United States is facing a country-wide nursing shortage. The idea of travel nursing is to move nurses to where the demand is highest so that the maximum amount of jobs are being filled.

Healthcare providers need to meet set nurse-patient ratios in order to be considered a safe practice.  As the U.S. population gets older, the need for more healthcare professionals increases. This is especially true in states that are popular retirement spots like Florida, Arizona, and California.  These states have a high demand for travel nurses.

Just because there is more need for nurses does not mean hospitals have more money.  Hiring travel nurses can save clinics money as they don’t need to pay for benefits like insurance, retirement, and days off.  It also reduces the time spent on recruiting and training new nurses. In return, a normal travel nurse salary is higher than that of a permanent nurse.

2. Travel nurses need specializations and multi-state licenses.

In order to qualify to be a travel nurse, one must have a nursing license and at least one year of specialized nursing experience.  The demand for nurses, in general, is increasing, but even more so the demand for specialized nurses is growing rapidly. Hospitals are looking to hire nurses with higher education and specialized skills, such as dialysis nurses.  These positions usually offer higher pay and combined with travel nursing can be a great opportunity for nurses.

Another detail in the travel-nursing picture is that most states require an individual RN license in order to qualify for work in that state.  People planning to become travel nurses should look into getting licensed in multiple states, especially those with the highest demand. Nurses can also get an Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC).  This allows them to treat patients in any eNLC state.

3. Travel nursing is not for everyone.

Travel nursing is professionally, financially, and personally rewarding.  At the same time, it can be a difficult career. On top of the everyday stresses of being a nurse, travel nurses are relocating every 8 to 26 weeks.  It can be hard to make friends and feel connected to a community when you are moving so often. Settling into new workplaces can also take a while. People considering travel nursing should utilize any and all resources available to them so that they are able to feel successful and happy in their assignments and lives.  Connecting with other travel nurses can be a great way to create relationships around a shared experience.

Sound like the job for you?

If the demand, salary, and locations make travel nursing sound like a great career for you, look no further than New Directions Staffing.  Contact us today to learn more and see if we are the right travel nursing agency for you.