Jun 13, 2023 — Carly Miller

How Long Will Travel Nursing Last?

Nurse in hospital room crossing arms and smiling at the camera

As the healthcare industry continues to evolve and adapt to new challenges, travel nursing has become an increasingly popular solution for healthcare facilities nationwide. With a growing demand for experienced nurses, the travel nurse industry has provided many healthcare professionals with a flexible and rewarding career path.

However, with emerging trends in healthcare and potential policy changes, recruiters must stay informed about the future of the travel nurse industry.

In this blog post, we will explore the industry’s current state, discuss emerging healthcare trends that could impact the need for traveling nurses, and examine the key factors that will determine the longevity of the travel nursing profession.

What is Travel Nursing?

Two nurses taking a selfie

Travel nursing is a specialized form of nursing that involves taking temporary assignments in different healthcare facilities nationwide. Travel nurses are skilled professionals who typically work through staffing agencies as full-time nurses.

Unlike a permanent staff job, these assignments can range from a few weeks to several months and may be in hospitals, clinics, or other healthcare settings. In exchange for their services, travel nurse salaries are competitive, ranging from $50,000 to over $100,000 per year, depending on experience, location, and specialty.

Travel nursing contracts typically include a set term for the assignment and details about housing, transportation, and other related expenses. Many travel nursing agencies also offer benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off.

Benefits of Travel Nursing Jobs

Happy young nurse smiling at camera with her hands in her pockets

Working as a travel nurse has many benefits. Unlike a traditional nursing career, traveling nurses have an increased opportunity to gain valuable experiences in different settings and specialties, all while receiving role flexibility, excellent benefits, and higher pay.

Travel healthcare also helps to alleviate nursing shortages by providing health systems with access to skilled professionals who can help fill gaps in staffing. By partnering with a travel nursing agency, a healthcare organization can ensure that patients continue receiving high-quality care despite workforce challenges.

Additionally, the industry helps to promote workforce diversity and cultural competency, as nurses are exposed to different patient populations and healthcare systems across the country.

Impact on the Healthcare Industry

Nurse administering an IV to a sick patient in a hospital room

The impact of travel nursing on the healthcare industry has been significant. According to the American Nurses Association, the demand for registered nurses is expected to grow by 9% between 2020 and 2030, translating to a need for 200,000 new nurses annually.

With this growing demand, healthcare facilities have increasingly turned to travel nursing assignments to solve the growing nursing shortage.

Travel healthcare has also had a positive impact on patients. By providing experienced and qualified nurses to healthcare facilities, traveling nurses help maintain high patient care standards and improve patient outcomes. Additionally, they can bring fresh perspectives and ideas to healthcare facilities, promoting innovation and growth within the industry.

Overall, travel nursing has become an essential part of the healthcare industry, providing valuable solutions for nurses and healthcare facilities.

The Current State of the Industry

Female nurse with a mask putting on gloves in a hospital room

The COVID pandemic led to an unprecedented demand in the nursing field. Due to the struggle to keep up with the increased patient load, the need for travel nurses skyrocketed.

The current shortage of nurses and the aging population have contributed to the high demand for travel nurses. Many healthcare facilities have been struggling to find enough qualified staff to provide adequate care, which has led to an increase in temporary healthcare positions.

The Cost For Recruiters and Organizations

Female healthcare colleagues standing outside hospital

The cost of a travel nurse for healthcare recruiters and organizations has increased steadily over the past few years. This is mainly due to the rising cost of travel nursing salaries, which the high demand for these professionals has driven up.

Traveling nurses receive a weekly payment that includes their salary, housing allowance, and other benefits. Traveling nurses often receive higher wages and increased employment benefits than permanent staff nurses.

The average weekly payment for travel nurses varies widely. However, a typical range is between $1,500 and $3,000 weekly.

The pre-pandemic pay for traveling nurses was around $70,000 to $90,000 per year, depending on their specialty and level of experience. However, since the pandemic hit, the need for travel nurses has skyrocketed in many areas of the country, leading to significant increases in their pay rates.

The demand for higher wages has put a strain on healthcare recruiters and organizations struggling to keep up with the rising travel pay. Many organizations are now having to offer enhanced wages and more benefits to attract and retain the best travel nurses, which can be challenging in an already competitive job market.

Despite these challenges, travel nurses remain a crucial part of the healthcare industry, providing much-needed support to hospitals and other healthcare facilities nationwide. As the need for travel nurses continues to grow, we will likely see further increases in their salaries and benefits in the years to come.

What Does the Future Hold?

A stethoscope shaped into a heart laying on a pair of folded scrubs

As healthcare professionals, organizations, and recruiters navigate the changing healthcare landscape, it is important to recognize the factors that may affect the future of the travel health industry.

Emerging Technologies

Nurse using cell phone in a hospital corridor and smiling

With technology continuing to evolve, the healthcare industry may see technological impacts transforming how traveling nurses can provide care.


Advances in telemedicine and remote monitoring technologies could enable traveling nurses to provide care from a distance, reducing the need for in-person assignments.

Digital Health

Mobile health apps, wearable devices, and other digital health tools could help traveling nurses monitor patient health and track medical data more efficiently.

Artificial Intelligence

AI-powered systems could help traveling nurses identify patients at higher risk for certain conditions or complications, allowing for earlier interventions and better outcomes.

Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT-enabled devices could allow traveling nurses to monitor patients remotely and collect real-time patient data on vital signs, medication adherence, and other health metrics.


This technology could help traveling nurses securely share patient data with other healthcare providers and improve care coordination.

Reallocation of Resources

Female Nurse Wearing Scrubs Sitting On Floor In Hospital Corridor Using Mobile Phone

Reallocation of resources could be crucial in enabling healthcare recruiters and organizations to continue supporting travel nurse careers. For healthcare providers, this could include investing in new technologies or training programs that will allow travel nurses to work more efficiently or offering more competitive salaries and benefits packages.

Additionally, healthcare organizations may need to adjust their staffing models to accommodate the needs of traveling nurses, such as providing housing or transportation assistance.

By reallocating resources in these ways, healthcare recruiters and organizations can help ensure that the industry continues to thrive, even in the face of changing healthcare trends and workforce challenges.

Potential Policy Changes

Male nurse holding a clipboard and smiling at a woman

Potential policy changes could play a key role in ensuring that the travel nursing industry continues to thrive. One possible change could be standardizing licensing requirements across states, making it easier for travel nurses to work in different regions and reducing administrative burdens for nurses and healthcare organizations.

Additionally, changes to reimbursement models and payment structures could help ensure that nurses are compensated fairly.

Finally, policies that support workforce development and education could help ensure that travel nurses have access to the training and resources they need to succeed in their roles.

By enacting policies that support the travel nursing industry, policymakers can help ensure that patients continue to receive high-quality care, even in the face of staffing shortages and other workforce challenges.

Travel Healthcare Moving Forward

Portrait of Male and Female Nurses in Hospital Hallway

In conclusion, the travel nursing industry is facing a rapidly changing landscape, with emergent technologies, reallocation of resources, and potential policy changes all impacting the future of this critical sector of the healthcare workforce.

While these changes may present challenges for healthcare recruiters and travel nurses, they also offer opportunities for innovation and growth.

By embracing new technologies, adapting to changing workforce needs, and advocating for policies that support the travel nursing industry, healthcare organizations and policymakers can help ensure that patients continue to receive high-quality care, even in the face of staffing shortages and other workforce challenges.

With the proper support and resources, the travel healthcare industry can continue to thrive and play a crucial role in meeting communities’ evolving healthcare needs nationwide.

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