By October 7, 2009 0 Comments

Ask a Travel Nurse: How fast is travel nursing coming back?

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Last week I wrote on the state of the travel industry. I had a response from a reader in regard to his views on the industry. I was going to post a response following his, but decided to dedicate this week’s post to it instead.

Last week Jason Lander wrote that from what he was seeing, “…it doesn’t seem anything is getting better yet. At best, it has stopped getting worse – meaning, we seem to have hit the bottom and have stabilized.” Jason goes on to report that the travel nursing industry has taken a 44% hit this year. For those of us travelers who have sought an assignment this year, this number is not at all difficult to believe.

However, I do respectfully disagree with Jason on his view of the current state of the industry. From what I read in Jason’s online profile, he is the founder of a company that deals with healthcare vendor management. This certainly does not discredit his stance in any way, but it means that he is coming from a different viewpoint.

I write about things I see in the industry from the traveler’s perspective. Have I had trouble finding a travel assignment this year? Yes. Have I still found a travel assignment this year? Again, yes.

This summer was probably the slowest anyone of us has seen in decades. I have been traveling since 1995 and have never had the troubles finding an assignment as I have this year. However, I did still find an assignment and I also work with nurses who are just starting in the field of travel nursing who have also found assignments. Additionally, I work in a unit with many travelers. Some of them have continued contracts here, while others have gone on to work travel assignments elsewhere. In the past two months, I have worked with two travelers, one who took an assignment in Vegas, the other, Oahu. When a traveler can still get an assignment in Sin City or a lush tropical setting, I just don’t see things being all that bad.

I agree with Jason that the travel industry has taken a severe blow this year, but from what I am seeing on the “front lines”, thing are improving. Furthermore, we are heading into the busy season for snowbird states such as Arizona and Florida where needs will again spike over the winter.

I’m not saying that the travel industry is anywhere near what it was, but I do see it moving slowly in a positive direction.

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About the Author:

Hello everyone. I’m a travel nurse originally from Ohio who graduated in 1993 from Mount Carmel School of Nursing in Columbus. I completed a critical care fellowship at Riverside Methodist Hospital in 1994 and started traveling in that specialty a year later. My first travel assignment was in Maui and since that time I have completed close to 40 different contracts in various states with multiple travel companies. I am the author of Travel Nurse’s Bible (A Guide to Everything on Travel Nursing), in addition to my writings here and in the pages of Travel Nursing publications such as Healthcare Traveler Magazine and American Nurse Today. I am presently on assignment in Phoenix, AZ and travel anywhere from six to eleven months of the year.

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  1. “…it doesn’t seem anything is getting better yet. At best, it has stopped getting worse – meaning, we seem to have hit the bottom and have stabilized.” Jason goes on to report that the travel nursing industry has taken a 44% hit this year.

    Just like the real estate market!

  2. Jason Lander says:

    I really enjoy this blog and the content provided. In regard to this and your previous post, I certainly want the industry to bounce back as much as anyone. I hope you’re right that in fact things are improving. However, even though things have certainly seemed to stabilize, and specific companies might see small bumps here and there, I think it’s a bit early to suggest things are improving for the industry as a whole.

    It’s great that you’re getting travel assignments and so are some of the nurses you know. However, do you have any more specific data than that to support your suggestion that the industry as a whole is improving? If so, you should share it. Many people would be interested in having it.

    Also, let me clarify the “perspective” I was providing in my previous comment. The data I provided and the statements I made were not from a personal perspective, some sort of bias or something I was feeling or seeing, as you’ve suggested. The information I offered was from 3 sources of actual data. 1) The Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) http://www.staffingindustry.com/ME2/Audiences/default.asp 2) ShiftWise healthcare VMS http://www.shiftwise.net and 3) four additional technology company who’s names I don’t have permission to disclose.

    Yes, I am the founder of a VMS company but I’m not using any bias when I provide such information. In fact, I’m a bit perplexed as to how my affiliation with such a company can be viewed as anything but providing me with a more aggregate view of the industry as a whole. It’s pretty hard to argue with data. For example, ShiftWise has real time data on the agency usage of over 1000 hospitals and 1300 staffing suppliers across the nation. Although, it’s certainly your prerogative to disagree with my “perspective” I would suggest that it’s pretty difficult to ignore combined data from this source, similar technology companies and data from the SIA.

    But your readers can make up their own minds.

  3. Yolanda says:

    Is this increase in assignments across the board for all specialites too? I’ve noticed its a lot easier for ER and ICU nurses to get an assignment over say OB. Several of my friends who are in labor and delivery, including myself had to stop travel nursing and get staff jobs.

  4. Yolanda says:

    Is this increase in assignments across the board for all specialties too? I’ve noticed its a lot easier for ER and ICU nurses to get an assignment over say OB. Several of my friends who are in labor and delivery, including myself had to stop travel nursing and get staff jobs.

  5. Jeff says:

    Yolanda,

    We have actually seen a pick up across the board regardless of specialty.

  6. Gary Cox says:

    I have been getting calls from recruiters that are telling me that at the worst there were fewer than 200 jobs posted for travelers, now there are over a thousand. Things definitely be looking up. Wrote a post on my blog concerning this.

  7. Jeff says:

    That is great to hear Gary, Great post btw. I linked to it here.

    http://www.travelrngab.com/2009/10/travel-jobs-return.html

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