Traveling nurses a boon to hospitals

Lila Johnson

Name a career that would make a person leave a stable lifestyle of friends, family and a secure job? If you have a desire for travel and crave a life outside of the norm, then you would be one of the roughly 16,000 people who are travel nurses.
The ongoing staff shortage in hospitals has created the need for nurses to fulfill slots all across the country. Travel nurses have contracts with hospitals, clinics and cruise ships that may last six weeks or three months to one year. The average stay is three months, allowing stability to a unit and patient area.
Unlike temporary staffing companies that employ help for the day, travel nurses are considered regular staff members in terms of scheduling and workloads.
Numerous travel agencies large and small recruit their services across the United States, Canada, Virgin Islands and Hawaii. There are international branches that allow travel to London and Australia for example.
This is not a field for any set race or gender. Travel nurses are male, female, young, old, married, families or single people.
Many have expressed a desire for a lifestyle change. Maybe it is a need to step out of their comfort zones, children have begun college or recent divorce or widowhood has triggered thoughts of travel.
The reasons are numerous when travelers are questioned about their nomadic lifestyles.
Pauline Carpenter, a registered nurse, began traveling at age 55 when retirement became boring and she desired the need to work and travel. Three months ago she completed an assignment in the Virgin Islands and is currently working in Charleston, S.C..
When a hospital representative chooses a travel nurse, many things are considered: What area in the hospital has the most critical need? Will he or she be able to step right in with minimal orientation to begin the task presented?
Many nurses have from one to 10 or more years experience. This may be their first assignment or their 20th. Some have traveled for five or more years and are skilled in several areas of nursing.
Many nurse managers appreciate the employment of travel nurses due to the ability to make use of their skills immediately. It also allows the consistency of care for the patient, which is a priority.
The sense of learning and exchanging new information benefits not only regular staff members but travelers as well.

Lila Johnson, a native of Kansas City, Kan., is a travel nurse living in Clovis. Contact her at: