The Nurse's Dilemma: A Glimpse into the World of a Compassionate Nurse

Posted by Tim Teague on 2/1/24 9:15 AM

Topics: Health Care Staffing, Contract Labor

Recently, while visiting a loved one in a palliative care unit at a local Nashville hospital, I had a conversation with a dedicated nurse that opened my eyes to the challenges faced by healthcare professionals. This nurse, passionate about helping those in need, candidly shared the stress that had begun to wear on her. As we delved into the heart of the matter, she pointed to staffing as her primary concern. Her experience shed light on a critical issue affecting hospitals nationwide.

The Nurse's Dilemma

Amidst the chaos of a short-staffed unit, the nurse recounted an incident where a patient nearly fell off the bed due to the overwhelming patient load. With staff being redirected to fill gaps in other hospital departments, her unit was left shorthanded. The stress of the situation led me to ask a poignant question – had she ever considered quitting? To my surprise, she responded with a revelation – “I would probably be a travel nurse.” This stunned me and that’s where our conversation ended, because she had other patients to attend to.

The Unforseen Perspective

The idea of jumping from the proverbial fire into a frying pan puzzled me initially. However, as I pondered the context of her response, it dawned on me:

What if being a travel nurse was a solution, albeit temporary, for those facing similar challenges in other hospitals?


What if, by helping in a stress-filled environment, nurses could prevent patient overload and ensure safety? The answer wasn't just about money or travel; it was about the shared desire among healthcare professionals to support one another. Even if just for 13 weeks.

The Call for Solutions

This realization prompted a deeper exploration into the state of the staffing industry today. According to a recent report by the Staffing Industry Analysts, the healthcare segment is projected to reach $54.3 billion, marking a 3% decrease post-pandemic, compared to 2023.

This figure, however, is a significant increase from the pre-pandemic levels of $18.9 billion in 2019. The undeniable surge in healthcare staffing post-pandemic signifies a "new normal." Then it dawned on me: as long as there is a shortage of nurses, there will always be those that make the jump to travel, which is in total agreement with their reasons for being in their chosen profession of caring for others.

Embracing the New Normal

As the largest publicly held staffing firms experienced substantial drops in revenue post-pandemic, it became evident that the demand for healthcare professionals is soaring. The increase in healthcare staffing budgets highlights the industry's resilience and adaptability to the changing landscape. This "new normal" reflects the dedication of professionals like the nurse I spoke to – individuals committed to caring for others, even in the face of challenges.

The evolving landscape of healthcare staffing demands innovative solutions and a collaborative approach. The surge in demand for travel nurses indicates a willingness among healthcare professionals to support their peers in times of crisis.

As we navigate this "new normal," it's essential for hospital executives and staffing agency owners to embrace solutions that prioritize the well-being of both patients and healthcare professionals. Together, we can build a resilient healthcare workforce that thrives in the face of challenges, ensuring the highest level of care for those in need.

We are already in the midst of the new normal; now, it's time for us to adjust and embrace the changes.


124401379_372302477216852_3956132087598176642_n-240x300Tim Teague

President, BlueSky Synergy


Tim is a thought leader in the contingent labor market place. His latest technology approach takes advantage of hospitals developing their own "gig" workforce. This technology is similar to what staffing agencies have enjoyed for years.


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