Covid-19 & The Future of Travel Nursing
Next Move Marketing Update: What to expect over the next 6-12 months? A year and a half into the Covid-19 pandemic, and with the new Delta variant on the scene, many of our travelers have asked what to expect in the coming months? What specialties will be in high demand? Do we expect a flu outbreak this year? And of course – what geographic locations do we expect to see an increase in demand for travel nurses?
Geographic Locations with Increased Demand for Travel Nurses
The effect of Covid-19 throughout the Midwest will vary significantly by city and county. As many of you already know, areas with low Covid-19 vaccination rates are seeing spikes in Covid related hospitalizations – especially as compared to areas with high vaccination rates.
Springfield, Missouri and the surrounding area, is one such geographic location where we have seen an increase in those hospitalizations over the last few months and as a result an increased need for more nursing staff.
Over the next few weeks, we expect these staffing needs in these areas to taper off, and the demand for new travelers in these specific areas to decline. (Unlike last year, and this past spring – we do not expect hospitals to decrease rates or cancel contracts for the positions they have already filled.)
We highly anticipate that the Covid-19 surge we saw in places like Springfield, will also occur throughout other areas of the country with low vaccination rates like Kansas City & St. Louis Missouri, Omaha, Nebraska & Wichita, Kansas. We expect metro areas with higher vaccination rates to show a slow growth in regards to Covid-19 related hospitalizations without the surge associated with low vaccination rates.
While overall we are seeing the same need for travel nurses, as compared to last year. we are seeing that there are fewer nurses in the marketplace available for travel nursing assignments, partially due to nurse burn-out. Which is why we anticipate weekly gross rates to go up in the coming weeks in specific/isolated areas, as well as healthcare facilities needing more nursing staff than usual. Whereas a specific unit at a facility historically only needed 1-2 travel nurses at a time, we expect hiring to go up significantly at these facilities where we are anticipating a need to hire 5, 10, 15, 20 travel nurses at one time.
Next Move Provides Transparency about the Travel Nursing Market
We’ve had a few travel nurses share with us the rates they’re currently being offered from other agencies and asking us what they should do. Take the assignment? Or hold off for a better rate in their city/facility of preference. The good news is – while we want all the nurses to work for us and only us (insert LOL), we also want our nurses to feel excited and confident about their upcoming assignment. So, we always instruct our team to be as transparent as possible about what is going on the market.
Last year, when Covid-19 hit its peak, many healthcare systems reached out directly to travel nurse agencies that they had a direct relationship with – asking for positions to be filled 3-4 days before advertising those openings. Next Move does have direct relationships with many premier healthcare institutions throughout the midwest – but not all of them. If our recruitment team honestly feels that you could get the same, or even a better rate in the city/facility of your choice – they’ll tell you. And if they think the rate you were offered by a competitor is the best the market has to offer – they’ll tell you that too. That’s the nice thing about Next Move – we’re just going to tell you how it is – and leave the fluffy, beautiful story lines to the brush strokes of Bob Ross.
Questions you can (and should) ask your recruiter:
- What are the pay packages going to do? Are they going to go up? Go down?
- I got a good rate from one of your competitors. Should I hold out – and see if I can get more?
- I’m worried about accepting this contract because the rates might go up? Should I hold?
- I think I need to accept this contract (that I don’t really want) because I want to lock in this great rate. What should I do?
Will We Have a 2021/2022 Flu Outbreak?
Historically fall and winter are the busiest times in the travel nurse industry (pre-Covid-19). The patient census at hospitals always goes up during this time of year due to the flu season, coming in strong during November & December and heaviest in January through the beginning of February. As a result we’ve historically seen an increased need for travel nurses September through October.
Last year, due to Covid-19 restrictions (masks, social distancing, stay-at-home orders, etc.), we did not have a flu outbreak but of course saw a surge in the need for travel nurses because of the then new Pandemic.
- If this year, we do not see widespread mask-mandates, and social distancing protocols, we predict a rise in hospital patient census as we have in years before, for the 2021/2022 flu season.
- If we do continue to see major Covid outbreaks in areas with low vaccination rates we expect to also see a rise in hospital patient census in September, October & November and a leveling out in December when we imagine Covid-19 restrictions will be put back into place.
Specialties in High Demand Fall 2021
In addition to critical care RNs being needed while the Pandemic continues, the need for Labor & Delivery (L&D) RNs, and OR RNs have historically seen increases during the last 3 months of the year (October, November, December). OR RNs are usually in high demand during this time of the year in part due to the need to utilize insurance deductibles before year’s end. As compared to last year, we have also seen an increased need for L&D RNs. Whereas last year we saw what looked more like a baby bust, then a baby boom.
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Travel Nursing Testimonials
Started traveling simply because she wanted to make more money.
Started travel nursing to take control of life and boost her mental health.
Tried travel nursing 16 years ago and didn’t like. See what changed her mind.
Chose travel nursing so she could take as much time off as she wanted.
Med/Surg RN with 4-years’ experience. Her tips for nurses new to travel
Stayed with her hospital when covid hit. After 8-months started travel nursing
Started traveling the second she got 2-years nursing experience
They cut her pension – so she quit and started travel nursing
Got Travel Nursing Questions?
Did we miss anything? Do you still have questions about travel nursing? Give us a call (or shoot us an email) today and one of our dedicated team members would be happy to answer any questions you might have.
Next Move Inc
(816) 601 -3800