For qualified nurses who want to get more out of their careers, Travel Nursing has been nothing short of a revolution. Beyond the significant bump in pay it affords, the sheer freedom of traveling around the country and seeing new places while gaining important, resume-building experience is something that can only be described as “life-changing.”
But it hasn’t always been that way. In fact, Travel Nursing is still a fairly young movement, having only been around for about forty years. By contrast, modern nursing is about 175 years old, dating back to the beginning of Florence Nightingale’s career.
Although Nightingale traveled substantially throughout her career, the modern concept of Travel Nursing didn’t really begin until 1978, when hospitals in New Orleans began to build up their nursing staff in order to handle the swell of traffic they would experience during Mardi Gras. With only so many qualified nurses around, hospitals in the Big Easy put the word out to other communities that they needed temporary help, and Travel Nursing was born.
During the 1980s, this practice began to catch on, as hospitals in places such as Florida and Arizona began to recognize the substantial jump in patients they would treat during the winter months. Rather than maintaining a full staff year-round, it made more financial sense for them to staff up seasonally. It wasn’t long before hospitals everywhere were exploring flexible staffing options to meet their needs.
During this time, rapid advancements in medicine and booming populations were in the process of creating a shortage in skilled nursing, which many hospitals sought to solve by hiring nurses on a temporary basis. As more and more hospitals took up the practice to meet their staffing needs, more and more agencies cropped up to help nurses fill those needs.
Of course, the nursing shortage that gave rise to the Travel Nursing movement continues to this day, with no sign of abating. The World Health Organization estimates a global shortfall of nearly 4.3 million health care professionals including both nurses and physicians. For many hospitals and other acute care facilities, Travel Nursing has become an absolute necessity, and the competition for qualified nurses is often fierce.
Thus, today’s Travel Nurses are in high demand, and can earn as much as 25% more than staff nurses, depending upon their specialty.
To learn more about Travel Nursing opportunities, call today and speak to a Nightingale Travel Nursing Recruiter.