Demand for Travel Nurses Skyrockets Amidst COVID-19
On March 2, the U.S. had 100 reported cases of COVID-19. By March 6, that number was 319. By March 11, it was over 1,000 confirmed cases. Fast forward to March 24 and confirmed cases exceeded 54,800. There’s no understating the prolific, aggressive transmission rate of this virus and the devastation it’s leaving in its wake. It’s moving so fast that healthcare facilities in major metropolitan areas are being quickly overwhelmed. And the situation still hasn’t reached its peak.
As COVID-19 cases rapidly increase, so does the need for qualified nursing professionals.
Travel nurses are primed for a pandemic
Although cases of COVID-19 are rapidly multiplying, the disease is not spreading evenly across the nation. Some states or communities have been hit much harder than others, leading to overwhelmed hospitals, sick healthcare providers, and much higher needs.
New outbreaks are being discovered every day, meaning more and more locations are finding themselves in need of personnel. Now, more than ever before, the mobilization of nursing staff is required to provide assistance wherever possible.
Travel nurses are the most obvious choice to meet these needs. Equipped with the skills and experience of working in unfamiliar locations and high-stress situations, travel nurses have a lot to offer when it comes to addressing COVID-19. Often, travel nurses are filling in for quarantined or sick nurses.
The most pressing needs currently come from areas that have been most drastically affected by the virus. Nurses are desperately needed in states like New York, Washington, Michigan, and California — each of which saw early and high-volume outbreaks. Needs in other states like Louisiana and Florida also are growing as their outbreaks become worse.
Aside from the front-line locations, though, many more communities are in need of travel nursing staff for prevention. Rural communities tend to have a shortage of healthcare providers even without a pandemic. This means that these communities would be extremely underprepared should the virus spread to their areas. Travel nurses are being requested in these locations to help hospitals prepare ahead of an outbreak.
It’s time to answer the call
As COVID-19 threatens more and more communities, travel nurses are getting new abilities and incentives to help. Because of the virus, travel nursing has become easier, since many states have relaxed their licensing requirements. This gives travel nurses the freedom to practice in regions they previously could not. It also maximizes the amount of help available from all over the country. Check into your license and reach out to your recruiter to see if you are eligible to apply to and serve a new state easily.
Additionally, travel nursing during the COVID-19 pandemic might come with significant benefits. Due to the high risk and high demand of the job, some assignments have experienced rate increases of between 70% and 100%, according to industry data. Assignments and rates are variable, but both are likely to rise in the coming weeks as infection rates peak. This is especially true in current and emerging markets and in in-demand roles like the emergency department.
Beyond easier licensing and more pay, understand that you hold the experience and skills required to make a major impact in communities in need. It’s time for travel nurses to answer the call of nationwide nursing shortages for the public good.