San Francisco, CA (NursingSalary.org) – Since the 1970s, traveling nurses have been in demand. Hospitals and nursing homes that are short staffed with nurses usually hire traveling nurses on a short-term or contractual basis. Healthcare facilities being short-staffed are getting common day by day.
To control the decrease in work force, there are agencies that provide temporary nurses to healthcare facilities in order to alleviate the burnout occurring among an overextended workforce. However, since the economic slowdown, demand for traveling nurses have dwindled a little because full-time nurses hang on to their jobs and position don’t open up easily, says Rob Simmons, the Client Development Manager with Travel Nurses Solution.
Whatever the situation maybe, traveling nurses are one of the most cost effective option available with hospitals. These nurses take on assignments that span anywhere between four to twenty-six weeks, and in some cases, the traveling nurses remain working on the same assignment for years. In return for providing services to the hospitals, the agency receive about $80 per hour, which includes housing, travel cost, nursing services, salary and other miscellaneous costs.
Even though staffing a hospital comes handy, it is difficult for a hospital to maintain cost – saving budget and the revenue also gets affected. Hospitals do not find it cheaper to employ traveling nurses on a permanent or long-term basis as the cost of paying the nurses works out to be $6 to $10 more than what the hospital will pay a permanent employee.
One disadvantage of being a traveling nurse is lack of job stability. When there is a need to cut down on hospital budget and do cost-cutting, the traveling nurses are the ones who receive their pink slips with others. As Rob Simmons says, traveling nurses “are probably one of the top costs hospitals try to cut out when looking at their budgets”.
The contracted staffs are usually the first to go and that is not a good thing because patient welfare suffers. Retention facility with traveling nurses is lower even though they are equally qualified and experienced as any other permanent nurse. It is sad and illogical to deny employment opportunity to traveling nurses just because the revenue gets a little setback. Instead, what the hospital administration should focus upon is to find out ways to generate revenue by having temporary nurses on staff.
Therefore, on one hand, while traveling nurses enjoy the freedom to work on assignments of their choice; on the other hand, they also face the insecurity of being jobless if any problems arise in the hospital budget or revenue system.