Travel Nurse Job Market Looks Bright in 2021
The need for travel nurses continues to be strong as states have fully opened and people start enjoying a somewhat normal summer. That’s great news! And the even better news is that staff nurses are beginning to take a much-needed break. The combination of those two developments means that there will be an abundance of travel nurse and allied assignments. Now is the time to take advantage of the opportunities.
With the continued slowdown of COVID-19, some specialties are in high demand as people begin to feel safe again going back to the doctor or hospital. OR travel nurses and med tech jobs are in high demand due to an increase in requests for elective procedures. But the outlook for most primary specialties is promising so if you want to be in the front of the line, there are several things you can do to prepare.
As we write this article the true depth of the events that have unfolded since early 2020 seems to have been fully realized and the spread of the virus is slowing. That is truly great news. Although the once prevailing sentiment was that the demand for travel clinicians would slow down, that does not seem to be the case.
In addition to and because of demand, travel nurse and allied pay packages continue to be higher than what we historically experience so this is a great time to start a travel career. The forecast shows 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 higher than normal year. ER and orthopedics may also see a seasonal increase as people spend more time in recreational activities over the summer months.
Where we once told travelers to take whatever assignment came their way, you can now be a little more selective about location. Just remember that the facility that hires you really needs you to be ready to go. Use the time to sharpen your skills and maybe choose a city that you would not have necessarily traveled to at another time. Seize the adventure.
If you’ve done travel assignments in the past, one of the best ways to get a new assignment is to reach out to the managers at those facilities and let them know you’re ready to go. Managers will naturally gravitate to travelers who have experience in their facility.
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.
Create a digital profile if you don’t already have one. This will make it easy to keep it updated.
Ensure that you have quick access to all the information listed below so that once your dream assignment is 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.
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 still have to be flexible 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. We've come to the light at the end of the tunnel – and it's leading to a great travel career.