Why travel nurses are on the rise and how a VMS can help

Posted by Tim Teague on 2/6/18 5:01 PM

Topics: Health Care Staffing


Job opportunities for nursing positions have been on the rise in recent years, particularly as demand for patient care continues to increase and the overall shortage of qualified employment candidates persists. Individuals with nursing degrees have a bevy of choices when it comes to their job outlook, and many have been trending toward traveling positions.

Demand continues to rise

In 2015, Phil Galewitz of Kaiser Health News and USA contributor wrote about demand for travel nurses, noting that, at the time, needs for flexible medical professionals had hit their highest point in 20 years. Factors including increasing health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, declining unemployment and higher rates of admission to hospitals led to a two-decade high point for traveling nurses.

"A 19% annual growth in demand for traveling nurses is expected through 2022."

According to current statistics, there are still a multitude of opportunities for nurses willing to work more short-term positions and travel to new locations as needed. Labor experts forecasted a 19 percent annual growth in demand for traveling nurses through 2022, Nurse Journal reported. 

Benefits for traveling nurses

As hospitals, individual medical practices and other health care institutions continue to seek out nurses willing to work in a facility for a just a few weeks at a time, degree-holding nursing professionals are increasingly choosing this career path. And, as Nurse Journal pointed out, there are numerous advantages for registered nurses that elect traveling positions.

"Travel nursing is a specialized focus for registered nurses, which means that the position can be stressful and demanding, but travel nurses also get to experience the unique opportunity to travel around the world," Nurse Journal stated.

In addition, income statistics also show that the typical traveling nurse not only enjoys competitive payment in the medical industry, but he or she also usually makes more than the average registered nurse. Often, medical institutions and staffing agencies take into account the fact that these employees must pick up and move to a new location on a regular basis, and traveling nurse positions commonly come with higher earning levels.

In addition, TravelNursing.org noted that many positions also come with the benefit of a housing stipend to help nurses find quality living arrangements near the facility where they work. As the typical position lasts for only about 13 weeks, it's advantageous for traveling nurses to receive assistance of this kind.

Female nurse wearing scrubs and stethoscope, holding clip board.
There are many benefits to becoming a traveling nurse.

Where a VMS comes in: Supporting nurses and health care facilities

Traveling nurses are particularly beneficial in more rural areas, where turnover for regular positions may be high and the potential candidate pool considerably small. In settings such as these - as well as within any facility that leverages the services of traveling nurses - it's imperative to have the right tools on hand to streamline necessary workforce processes.

This is where a vendor management system comes into play and becomes so advantageous. Scheduling traveling nurses alongside more-permanent staff members, as well as keeping invoicing payment processes organized can be a challenge. Thankfully, these and other crucial activities - including managing credentials and recording time and attendance - can be automated and best supported with a robust VMS in place.

VMS software also reduces the time employees spend on manual, administrative tasks. In this way, their time can be prioritized and dedicated to more pressing, mission-critical and patient-focused activities.

In order to best support traveling nurses, staffing agencies and health care facilities should have a VMS in place, ensuring that resources can be maximized and key employee processes are streamlined.

Find out more about how a VMS can benefit your organization - connect with the experts at BlueSky Medical Staffing Software today.

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BlueSky Medical Staffing Software is an applicant tracking system, vendor management system, staff/nurse scheduling system, and invoice/payroll tool combined into one suite for clinical talent and contingent labor management. BlueSky has been empowering the healthcare and hospital staffing industry for over twenty years by solving expensive operational problems in business and organizations.

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