A travel nurse’s job is to fill the gaps in care in hospitals across the country for anywhere from days to a few months. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues on, travel nurses are in demand more than ever. If you’re thinking about becoming a travel nurse, this article provides an overview of why the demand for travel nurses increases and how they meet staffing needs.
Helping Those in Need
Travel nurses are always in demand. This is true particularly during times of increased illness and after disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, or fires. Nurses are needed in urban areas and rural areas alike during these times. But during COVID-19, travel nurses are being called on to fill staffing gaps now more than ever.
States See an Increase in Travel Nurse Requests
Travel nurses travel from state to state or city to city on 13-week contracts in general. Some nurses even take international assignments. As of 2019, a number of states have increased their demand for travel nurses by 500 to 1000%. These include:
What Travel Nurses are Doing
As COVID-19 continues in the United States, the need for nurses to see and treat those affected by the virus continues. One nurse started a recent tour of assignments as an ICU flex nurse in Texas, first in Dallas, and then in Houston. She floats to different units in the hospital to care for very sick patients. Her favorite aspects of the job include getting to work in different hospital cultures and with a variety of people.
The Need For Travel Nurses Skyrocket
In the early spring of 2020, travel nurses were sent out on assignments three times more often compared to the previous year. ICU nurses are in the most demand. And the average salary went from around $1,700 per week to over $3000 per week or more depending upon the assignment location. Expenses related to accommodations, meals, and relocating are included on top of the salary.
Thanks to 33 licensing agreements between states, known as the Nursing Licensure Compact, a nurse can practice in any of the participating states as long as they hold a valid license in one. An additional six bills are waiting for approval in state legislatures.
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