Nursing

Pack your bags and get on board: Why travel nursing is here to stay

Nurse Leader Insider, November 2, 2007

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These days, business is booming for travel nursing agencies. Once a vehicle for nurses who simply wanted to ski in the winter and surf in the summer, travel nursing is quickly becoming the hot trend in nursing. Although not a new phenomenon, travel nursing agencies are actively recruiting nurses in record numbers.

Travel nurses enjoy the unique opportunity of being able to travel while earning higher than normal salaries. Furthermore, most staffing companies offer medical benefits along with a 401(k) retirement plan, pay travel costs, and provide stipends for housing and food. As employees of these agencies, these nurses receive a salary dependent upon experience, specialty, and location.

According to staffing agencies, travel nurses make about twice as much as they would as a staff nurse at the very same facility. In fact, hospitals typically pay 20% more for traveling nurses than for direct employees, even after benefits are factored in.

One of the greatest advantages for traveling nurses is that they can pick and choose where they want to work and when. Rules about mandatory overtime, weekends, and holidays simply don't apply; these nurses can work as much or as little as they want.

Despite expressed concerns about temporary staff members' lack of familiarity with specific protocol and culture, hospitals that have difficulties recruiting and hiring permanent staff view travel nurses as an asset. According to Staffing Industry Analysts, Inc., hospitals employ 15,000 to 20,000 traveling nurses every week.

Editor's Note: This excerpt was adapted from the article, "Pack your bags and get on board: Why travel nursing is here to stay" featured in the Reading Room on HCPro's new online resource center, www.StrategiesForNurseManagers.com!



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