Well it is a new year and the travel nursing industry is a little older and maybe a little wiser. So what is a travel nursing going to look like in 2010?
Well first let’s take a look back at 2009. 2009 was an interesting year for travel nurses and travel nursing companies to say the least. The level of impact that the economies downturn had on travel nursing seemed to catch a lot of people off guard, because in the past healthcare staffing had been pretty immune to outside economic factors. After all, no matter how bad someone is off financially they still need healthcare, right? Well unfortunately in our lifetime we had never seen it so bad and this time people actually did put off receiving care, and that, along with hospitals not having as much money in their budgets due to the stock market decline and so many nurses returning to the work force to offset lost income of spouses or their own, all led to a substantial decrease in the number of travel nursing jobs out there. In fact 2009 ended with a substantial declines in travel nursing from 2008 levels. However the year did end on an upswing with many travel nursing companies reporting an increase in open jobs in the second half of the year. It is that momentum that is carrying into 2010.
So what does 2010 hold?
Industry experts are predicting a slight increase in the travel nursing industry in 2010 and this like I said earlier is off the heels of a stronger second half of 2009. This increase though is not really getting the industry back to 2008 levels, but it should still be better than 2009. Just looking through the ads in Healthcare Traveler magazine this month you can see a lot of companies advertising how many travel nursing jobs they have available, which is a good sign.
Also in Healthcare Traveler this month was a great article looking at the state of the healthcare travel industry going forward. They talked to a wide range of industry professionals representing both travelers and travel nursing company executives. Some of the key take aways were:
Industry Overall in 2010
- It will be a gradual increase in the number of travel nursing jobs available, but it is still heavily dependent on the economy continuing to improve and unemployment going down.
- Hospitals will continue to be more choosy as they have more candidates to choose from and will require more experience from travel nurses, actually preferring veteran travelers not just veteran nurses.
- Seasonal markets that have traditionally been strong will be weaker as the housing bubble bursting has diminished some of the growth in areas like Arizona and Florida.
Travel Nurses in 2010
- As travel nurses there are still plenty of assignments for you, but flexibility is still going to be key this year.
- You will need to be flexible in contract length, facilities and location.
- Traveling nurses will need to be prepared. Because the jobs are still limited, it will be important for you to be organized and up to date on all your travel nursing paperwork like immunizations, certifications and resume. You will also want to be licensed in all the states you want to work in ahead of time so that when the travel nursing job you want opens up you will be ready for your recruiter to submit you.
- Being signed up with a few travel nursing companies at a time is still going to be good idea in 2010. Your travel nursing company may not love that idea, but they should understand that it is your career and understand the need for you to ensure that you will always have a job, even if it is not with them.
- You should also be proactive in finding your next travel nursing job. You will want to start looking for your next job as early 4-6 weeks into your current travel nursing assignment. This will give your travel nursing agency time to find you the job you want.
- Competition for the open travel nursing jobs will still be tight so taking the time to write a good resume and do whatever you can to improve your clinical skills
Overall, be encouraged, travel nursing looks to be coming back. Don’t forget, all the factors that have historically driven the travel nursing industry have not gone away. There is still a nationwide nursing shortage. There is still a shortage of nursing instructors. And there is still an aging Baby Boomer population.
But enough of what I think. What about you? What have you seen? What are your predictions?