Why Do Hospitals Hire Travel Nurses? - Trusted Nurse Staffing 987839088534212 [9:30 AM] Katie Iglewski

You’ve been considering making the career change to become a travel nurse. The flexibility and gained experiences may look appealing. But why do hospitals need travel nurses? 

Will there be job security if you make the change?

Before you decide, there are some details you want to know.

In this guide, we’ll discuss why travel nurses are important and why hospitals need them. 



Table of Contents

What Is The Point of a Travel Nurse?

Travel nurses work in hospitals and facilities with short-term staffing needs.

There are many reasons why hospitals want to hire travel nurses. 

They are often hired to: 

  • Fill in gaps between full time hires
  • Provide support during busy seasons or disasters
  • Cover for absent nurses 
  • Work in difficult-to-fill positions

Many traveling nurses specialize in an in-demand field where turnover is high.

Being a travel nurse comes with certain benefits that being a full-time employee does not, including:

  • A flexible schedule.
  • Getting paid well for your hard work.
  • Perks and incentives such as free or reduced-price housing or covered travel costs.
  • The freedom to explore different specialties in nursing and expand your career.
  • Not being as enmeshed in workplace politics.
  • Filling in a void where more nurses are desperately needed.

You also become more and more adaptable and flexible as you encounter a variety of daily experiences as a travel nurse. 

The demand for registered nurses (RN) is expected to grow by 7% from 2019 to 2029. 

Though the demand for quality healthcare is needed everywhere, the workforce isn’t spread out evenly enough to best serve the population.

Special situations such as…

  • Natural disasters
  • Flu season
  • Pandemic hotspots
  • Areas with a large elderly population 

…sometimes require extra help. 

Nurses can go where they’re needed most while being supported by an agency that has their back.




Where Are Travel Nurses Needed?

Travel nurses are in high demand in every state. Demand ebbs and flows, but some areas are frequently in high demand. 

There are four states that are projected to have a nurse deficit through 2030:

  1. California: Good pay. A laid-back lifestyle. An incredible variety of locations, cities, nature, and weather. If that sounds like something you jive with, California might be what you’re looking for.  
  2. Texas: In Texas, you’ll never be far from a Whataburger, quality Tex-Mex, and have access to the open countryside and cities alike.  
  3. New Jersey: In the Garden State, you’ll never have to pump your own gas and it may just be the diner capital of the world. 
  4. South Carolina: South Carolina is steeped in history, golf culture, and known for its lovely beaches. 9 a.m. tee-time anyone? 

If you’re thinking of moving, travel nursing is a great way to test out a location before making a permanent move.

When you’re thinking of locations to accept a travel nursing assignment, you can also consider the cost of living and the annual salary by location. 

According to ZipRecruiter, the national average salary for a travel nurse is $99,202. This varies depending on the cost of living. 

Seattle, WA and Vallejo, CA both offer travel nurses a high average salary of around $115,600 per year. 

However, the cost of living in Vallejo is about 23% less than Seattle, allowing your money and savings to go further.   

But keep in mind that smaller towns might seem less appealing. So, to attract travel nurses, these towns might offer enticing benefits and pay packages.

Keep reading to learn how you can benefit a hospital as a travel nurse no matter where you go.


how do travel nursing agencies work


3 Reasons Why Hospitals Hire Travel Nurses For Their Staffing Needs

What is the benefit of hiring a short-term contracted nurse? Here are a few key reasons why a  hospital or facility would want to hire a travel nurse. 

#1: Travel Nurses Can Be Hired To Fill A Specific Shift or Speciality

No matter the reason for a vacant position, finding someone quickly is paramount for the benefit of their patients and facility. 

As a traveling nurse, hospitals can use you to ease this burden. 

Agencies have a large pool of applicants to offer facilities in need. These travel nurses have been fully vetted by their agency, which is a relief to the hospitals needing to fill a position quickly.

Here are some of the top positions in high demand:

  1. ICU
  2. Operating room
  3. Emergency room
  4. Medical-surgical
  5. Telemetry
  6. Labor and delivery 

How about shift scheduling?

It’s important to note that it’s the hospitals that drive the shift requirements. 

Hospitals operate on 8 to 12-hour shifts and depending on the labor laws of the state, that may determine the shift options available to you. 

Shift needs vary by hospital. Having a more strict preference for shift schedules might limit your options.

Flexibility is important. And so is planning ahead. 

If you know in advance a weekend or day you would like to have off, it’s best to have that written in your contract before starting your assignment. 

#2: Hiring A Travel Nurse Is More Cost-Effective

Anyone that has dipped a toe into the Human Resources world knows it’s expensive to replace full-time employees. 

Things like…

  • Health insurance
  • Paid time off (PPO)
  • Retirement plans and 401Ks
  • Recruitment
  • Training; and
  • Overtime

…are things a hospital does not have to pay for when they hire a travel nurse. 

Because travel nurses are employees of an agency, the hospital or facility does not have to cover these costs. 

There is a lot of labor that goes into hiring a full-time employee. This money can now be invested in the full-time employees they have.

#3: To Help Cover Short-Term Staffing Needs

Travel nurse contracts typically run around 13 weeks. 

These temporary positions help:

  • Fill in temporary roles between full-time hires
  • To cover for other nurses time-off; or
  • Provide additional support during busy seasons.




3 Examples of Why Travel Nurses Are In High Demand

As the needs of a community change, the workforce needs to change with it. Travel nurses can go where they’re needed most, giving them valuable experiences.  

#1: Critical Need Travel Nursing

Crisis assignments are one of the best ways for travel nurses to make an impact. 

Special situations such as…

  • Natural disasters
  • Flu season
  • Pandemic hotspots
  • Areas with a large elderly population 

…sometimes require extra help. 

COVID-19 has created a booming, sometimes desperate, need for travel nurses

These nurses are well compensated for their time. 

In the spring of 2020, travel nurse pay had risen about 76% nationwide and as much as 90% in Washington State where COVID-19 hit fast and hard in the spring of 2020. 

As the number of hotspots increased around the United States, the demand for travel nurses rose with it.  

As the pandemic continues, critical need travel nursing is in higher demand than ever. 

#2: Seasonal Fluctuations and Regional Demographics

Some locations have a higher demand depending on the season.

Florida and Arizona are hot spots in the winter months, for example. The influx of retirees and snowbirds temporarily changes the hospital needs of the community and travel nurses can fulfill an important role there.

This aging population increases the need for health care services

Currently, the United States has the highest number of Americans over the age of 65 in recorded history. 

This will increase the need for travel nurses to fill in staffing gaps as hospitals and facilities attempt to catch up to the demand. 

If you are willing to go to the colder states in winter, some hospitals are willing to pay winter rates for bonuses during winter shortages.

#3: Nursing Shortages and Hospital Staffing Issues

Nursing shortages are stressful for hospitals. They affect the quality of care for the patients and increase the risk of burnout for full-time employees.

Things such as…

  • High turnover
  • Inequitable workforce distribution; and
  • Lack of potential educators for the next generation of nurses

can create a void at any facility. 

Travel nurses can help a facility get back to a more sustainable workforce level.


critical need travel nursing

How Much Does a Travel Nurse Cost a Hospital?

In 2011, KPMG LLP conducted a study on how hospital executives view the use of full-time and supplemental labor. Permanent nurses came to an average hourly cost of $89. Traveling nurses cost an average of $83 per hour, a decrease of about 7%.  

The hidden costs of full-time nurses are often non-productive labor hours which can make up about 13% of total hours. 

How Do Travel Nursing Agencies Work?

Travel nursing agencies are independent of the hospitals and facilities they partner with.

Travel nursing agencies are built on flexibility. They take into account:

  1. Your qualifications and specialties.
  2. The locations you desire.
  3. Growth opportunities and experiences you are looking for.

One of the best things about travel nursing agencies is they do a lot of the work for you. Their job is to help sell your skills to a hospital or facility, then support you throughout your journey. 

So how can we at Trusted Nurse Staffing help you find your next assignment?

How Trusted Nurse Staffing Can Help You Find Your Dream Assignment 

At Trusted Nurse Staffing, we support our nurses and strive to help them be successful.

A few reasons to choose Trusted Nurse Staffing include:

  • Each of our nurses receives full, prepaid health insurance.
  • You’ll have access to your recruiter 24/7. 
  • Because we are a smaller company, we’re always here to answer the phone. Any questions you have, or concerns that come up, we’re ready to help you.
  • You’ll receive a fully loaded HRA card.
  • Each new nurse receives a special welcome box complete with swag.
  • You’ll be offered dental and vision plans with options for low or high deductibles.
  • We have an entire department dedicated to quality assurance and we’re ready to go to bat for our nurses. 

Plus, Trusted Nurse Staffing also offers a loyalty program. As you continue working with our team and completing contracts, you’ll accumulate points. These are redeemable for awesome prizes. 

Create your free profile today with Trusted Nurse Staffing LLC and see where this adventure takes you.