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Staffing shortages keep the need for travel nurses a hot topic for 2023 and the future.

With a high demand for nurses, people expect this year to continue with higher salaries and new opportunities for travel nurses available to work short-term contracts.

Furthermore, burnout and lack of personnel have led many hospitals to seek more help; staying on top of these trends can keep you ahead of the game and help you prepare for this often challenging career.

Knowing what is expected to happen in the travel nursing profession this next year and beyond is a must. For this reason, we have compiled the following information for you.  

 

Table of Contents

 

 

Where does travel nurse data come from? 

There are various ways to compile this type of information. 

For example, one resource is The National Nursing Workforce Study. It conducts surveys focused on the nursing profession. The last study released was from 2020. The survey for 2022 will be released early in 2023. 

Job marketplaces, such as Indeed and Vivian Health, also show high demand in different industries from search results on these platforms. 

 

Since hospitals still need more help than their current staff allows, they rely on travel nurses. 

Zippia reported that more than 1.6 million travel nurses are in the USA. 

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, there were 4.2 million registered nurses in the USA in 2022, 84.1% of which have a job in nursing. 

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that more than 203,000 new RN nursing jobs will be created annually from 2021 until 2031. 

 

How Do These Demand Trends Compare to Pre-Pandemic Demand Levels for Travel Nurses?

Demand for travel nurses soared in 2020 and 2021 due to the crisis caused by the pandemic. 

According to data from Syntellis Performance Solutions, the percentage of total hours worked by contract or travel nurses in hospitals grew from 3.9% in January 2019 to 23.4% in January 2022.

Additionally, hospitals spent about 4.7% of their nurse labor expenses on travel nurses in January 2019, while in January 2022, that average reached 38.6%. This increase illustrates the boost the travel nurse profession has seen over the past couple of years. 

 

demand trends in travel nursing

 

According to Glassdoor, the average salary for new travel nurses was just under $85,000 a year in 2022. 

Yet Fortune Education reports that travel nurse salaries are around $200,000 annually as hospitals still deal with staffing crises.

The deciding factor still is where you work, as rates vary. 

In September 2022, NBC News reported about Reese Brown’s travel nurse salary. In July 2020, she earned $5,000 or more a week, almost triple the rate before the pandemic. Since the money was so appealing, many nurses decided to quit their full-time hospital jobs and go on the road as travel nurses.

In the summer of 2022, Reese Brown got paid $2,200 a week. The situation isn’t as good or enticing as it used to be. The top dollar salaries are dwindling since they aren’t sustainable hospital rates over the long-term.

According to Becker’s ASC Review, here is the highest hourly rate by state for travel nursing positions in 2022.

  • California – $72.99
  • New Jersey – $65.87
  • New York – $64.39
  • Washington – $62.90
  • Massachusetts – $62.28

And the lowest-paying states are as follows:

  • Florida – $50.40
  • West Virginia – $50.36
  • Missouri – $49.76
  • South Carolina – $49.45
  • Alabama – $49.24
  • Tennessee – $45.73

 

pay trends in travel nursing

 

How Do These Pay Trends Compare to Pre-Pandemic Pay for Travel Nurses?

Before the pandemic, travel nurses averaged about $1,800 a week.

During the height of the pandemic, travel nurse salaries soared, and some positions earned between $8,000 – $10,000 a week.

As for current rates in 2022, the weekly average rate was $3,100, while the maximum weekly salary was about $7,200, according to Nurse Journal

However, Vivian Health, a hiring marketplace for healthcare professionals, states that the average travel nurse’s salary is $2,600 a week. 

Rates are cooling as the demand is lessening from the high Covid need. Yet travel nurses are making more than RNs with permanent positions, and there are still many active job postings on sites like Indeed and Vivian.com. 

There is still time to take advantage of competitive salaries while experiencing new cities. Create your FREE profile on Trusted Nurse Staffing to find out what travel nursing assignments are available. 

 

trends in travel nursing

 

According to Zippia, 

  • About 15% of nurses are men, while 85% are women.
  • The average age of a travel nurse is 44 years old. 
  • Regarding ethnicity, 70% of travel nurses are white, almost 12% are African American, 8% are Asian, and 8% are Latino. 
  • In 2021, women earned 95% of what men rated. 

 

How Do These Demographic Trends Compare to Pre-Pandemic Demographics for Travel Nurses?

The demographics of travel nurses have mostly stayed the same over the past few years. According to data on Zippia, the numbers have been consistent since 2010. 

 

When pondering the future of your career, it is essential to focus on various factors, so you see the big picture. 

In 2020, travel nursing grew by 35%, and it hit a 40% growth in 2021. Although that may be the highest point it reaches, RNs are still short-staffed at hospitals, so travel nurse positions are open throughout the country.

 

#1: A Concentrated Focus on Nurses’ Mental Health

The medical staff was hit hard across the board amid the pandemic. 

Professionals have been leaving this career path in droves due to the issues associated with the following:

  • Stress
  • Exhaustion
  • Trauma; and 
  • Lack of support

The pandemic was intensified by the following:

  • Lack of personnel
  • Not being crisis ready; and
  • Inadequate emotional backing

With the mass exodus in nursing, it became evident the work situation in this field has to improve. Nurses must be prioritized so they can give top-notch care to their patients. 

There are many ways to keep tabs on your mental health. 

Which of the following works best for you?

  • Support groups
  • Virtual therapy
  • Meditation
  • Sleep relaxation apps
  • Exercising
  • Gratitude practice
  • Journaling
  • Asking for help
  • Taking breaks 
  • Sharing/Talking about work traumas

Many resources are available for the nursing community, often including counseling options. 

It is up to you to avoid burnout. Once you understand its causes and signs, you can prevent it from happening to you.

 

mental health trends in travel nursing

 

#2: Flexibility

The pandemic did bring telemedicine and travel nurses to the forefront of society. These types of nursing professions bring more flexibility to the career. 

Telenursing provides care through technology so that nurses can practice remotely. 

Travel nurses get to choose where they want their next assignment to be. Spending time in different places lets you experience new locales and get a feel of where you would like to settle down. 

Many nurses choose this travel route since it provides a freedom that is unavailable with traditional job offers. 

Additionally, you can take time off in between assignments. Decide how you choose your next gig and the time frame between each. 

 

#3: Persistent Shortage of Staff Nurses

Nursing is a demanding job.

The pandemic contributed to a nationwide shortage of staff nurses due to the big three:

  1. Burnout
  2. Exhaustion; and 
  3. Stress

The shortage persists even with the country heading into endemic status.

Between 2020 and 2030, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there will be about 194,500 annual openings for RNs. This amount will represent an 8% growth rate. 

Also, the number of retirements in nursing is accelerating. When the median age of RNs was 52 in 2020, it was estimated that one-fifth of the profession would be retiring within the next five years. 

Therefore, there will be plenty of opportunities in nursing over the next few years. 

 

#4: Increase in Demand for Home Health Care Travel Nurses

The elderly are going to need more and more nursing care as time goes on. 

Today, there are around 46 million baby boomers, adults aged 68 to 76. An Aging in the United States report says that by 2060, this number is expected to be more than 98 million. These numbers could lead to a 75% increase in Americans needing care in a nursing home.

 

#5: Growing Demand for Behavioral Health Travel Nurses

Psych travel nurse placements are available across the USA. 

These nurses care for patients with:

  • Behavioral or mental health conditions; or
  • Substance abuse disorders

Unfortunately, opioid addictions and suicide are rising, and people need help.

By 2025, it is estimated that 96% of all counties in the US will have a shortage of professionals to deal with mental health issues. The US Department of Health and Human Services states that by 2025, the USA will be 250,000 professionals short of what the demand entails. 

 

You can get started as a travel nurse today with Trusted Nurse Staffing. 

Travel to new places while gaining experience working in different environments and joining new communities. 

It is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

  1. Apply today.
  2. Find your dream job.
  3. Start your adventure. 

In addition, Trusted Nurse Staffing connects you with:

  • Rewarding job opportunities
  • Great benefits
  • Top recruiters
  • Competitive pay

Let Trusted Nurse Staffing guide you to success today. Finding your dream travel nurse position is easy when you work with Trusted Nurse Staffing. 

 

trends in travel nursing