Outlook for Healthcare Travel Jobs in 2020
States, including California, are beginning to lift the ban on elective surgeries, and the need for nurses will be strong. That’s great news! The challenging part is that there will be thousands of travelers competing for every assignment. It's time to get your ducks in a row so that you can take advantage of the opportunities.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, some specialties have been in high demand while others, like OR, have been left on the sidelines. The outlook is bright, and opportunity is coming, but with each job opportunity, there will be a rush of submissions so if you want to be in the front of the line, there are several things you can do now to make sure you are ready for the looming demand for assignments.
First, the Outlook
As we write this article the true depth of the events that have unfolded over the last few months continues to sink in. We have a contrast of two worlds: On one side the COVID-19 rapid response orders are slowing down and will quickly reach a screeching halt. That’s good news for the people of this great country. However, the demand for traditional travel clinicians will take some time to ramp up.
Our toughest conversation with clinicians today involves helping them intimately understand the powers of supply and demand. There are most likely hundreds of thousands of staff nurses out on furlough, so the first step is for hospitals to reintroduce those folks back into the schedule – census permitting. Travelers will soon follow that first step. We are however forecasting an immediate demand in labor and delivery (L&D) and OR. L&D has often been a summer season need so we are expecting a normal year, and some are even projecting a robust December and January because, well, of course, we've all been stuck at home. ER and orthopedics may also see a seasonal increase as people spend more time in recreational activities over the summer months.
Go Where You Are Needed
For now, take whatever assignment comes your way – being picky is a luxury for another time. The facility that hires you will be happy to have you and you can use the time to sharpen your skills and get to know a city that you would not have necessarily traveled to.
Network with Previous Managers
If you’ve done travel assignments in the past, reach out to the managers at those facilities and let them know you’re ready. Managers will naturally gravitate to travelers who have experience in their facility.
Create Your Plan
Be ready to roll as facilities begin doing more elective procedures and towns get back to a new, albeit modified, normal. Know where you want to go, communicate that to your recruiter, and make sure you have the documentation you need.
Update Profile Information
Create a digital profile if you don’t already have one. This will make it easy to keep it updated.
Digital Profile Contents
Ensure that you have quick access to all the information listed below so that once assignments are available, you can forward the information to your recruiter. Add a calendar reminder for document updates.
- Resume with work history
- References (2). Must be charge nurse or management. Must be able to contact both (provide more than two if you think you might need a backup)
- Licensure. All clinicians must have a current, unrestricted license in the work assignment state. Exceptions are Compact States in which a traveler holds a Compact State license from their home state
- Certifications (AHA preferred)
- Verification of Physical (within the last 12 months and annually). Must include physician name, signature, and contact info
- Negative TB Test
- Evidence of Immunizations or Titers. Important: Please note that some facilities will not accept declinations
Flexibility in location and shift and limiting demands for days off and blocked schedules will also help you nail a great assignment.
If you go in as a flexible candidate rather than someone who is demanding before you even start, the relationship between you and the facility will be stronger. Once you have your foot in the door and gain rapport with your manager, that's when you can start asking for other perks.
Align with a Strong Agency
This will be a time of tremendous transition and consolidation in the healthcare industry. FlexCare has built strong relationships through the years with our facility partners around the country and we will continue to offer thousands of opportunities nationwide.
This has been and will continue to be a bit of a trying time for the traveling healthcare labor market. Travel nurses, therapists, and allied clinicians will have to be as flexible as possible when considering location, compensation, shifts, and time-off requests. Those that hold tightly to last year's job market will struggle to secure that perfect job. Be ready and give hiring managers a reason to place you at the top of the submission stack. There is light at the end of the tunnel – and it leads to a great travel career.