A critical shortage of advanced nursing professionals has hospitals scrambling to provide quality health care to an ever-expanding, aging population. By 2020, there will be a shortage of more than one million nurses nationwide, based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers. In addition to fewer available nurses, technology and regulations – such as the Affordable Care Act and new legislation that mandates patient-nurse ratios – demand new skills and support non-traditional nursing roles, such as travel nurses.
Physicians and hospitals have shifted toward hiring nurses with advanced training to respond to the challenges. Many hospitals are actually only hiring nurses with BSN or higher credentials. Hospitals are embracing creative staffing solutions. Some facilities boost ratio numbers and fill vacancies by hiring contract nurses through travel nursing jobs agencies. Temporary staffing agencies allow employers to take more time finding best-fit personnel for their facilities.
While there is a need for staff to fill traditional nursing roles in the ICU, operating rooms, NIC units, and emergency rooms, there are new roles travel nurses might consider. Gaining experience in these non-traditional roles could lead to higher future salaries if nurses decide to return to full-time employment in one location.
These professional nurses act as a guide for patients and families, especially during health management situations that involve surgery. For example, navigators working with cancer patients provide education about treatments, surgical procedures, nutritional guidelines and what to expect as the patients moves through various treatments. Patients are typically assigned a navigator after initial diagnosis. Training and implementation are emerging in hospitals nationwide.
Transitional Nurse Provider
Patients go home more quickly today than they did in past decades. Transitional nurses provide services similar to home health services. However, they are an extension of the hospital care unit today. Patient care is shifting toward a more inclusive package that includes pre-admission and post-admission care. Follow-up care lasts from one to three months in most cases.
Electronic ICU Nurse Roles
Nurses with a passion for patient care who cannot handle the 12-hour shifts on their feet might consider a role that can be performed from anywhere, including a remote location. With electronic monitoring equipment and telecommunications software, nurses monitor patients visually and via computerized equipment.
How Travel Nursing Serves the Medical Community
Freelance travel nurses may respond to a call to fill one of these emerging roles or to fill a void left as staff members move into new roles, leaving gaps in the traditional hospital setting. In either case, a temporary professional fills a crucial role in providing quality care to patients.
Healthcare is changing drastically. Nurses looking to expand their professional horizons have options today that have never been available before. Nurses have options to see first-hand what working in the 21st-century medical environment looks like, options to learn new skills, and put current skills into practice and options to increase wages and have more flexibility in scheduling.
For nurses with experience and advanced education credentials, becoming a traveling nurse provides almost limitless opportunities.
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