How COVID-19 Has Changed Travel Nursing

Out of the many aspects of our lives that the coronavirus has impacted, travel nursing is one of them. From coast to coast, to adhere to social distancing policies, travel nurses have had their contracts canceled, and this too happened without any notice.

Even though some nurses were lucky enough to get a contract in New York or Seattle, most nurses haven’t been as fortunate. Because of the increasing threat from the virus and the number of cases continuously increasing, the second wave is said to be just around the corner.

The virus hasn’t been kind. Before the pandemic struck, the job market favored travel nurses since nurses could pick their working location from a plethora of choices. Be it hospitals or a person who needed care at home – nurses had an edge that let them negotiate contracts.

But with declining demand and a steady supply, COVID-19 has changed travel nursing greatly.

Decrease Contracts

In the initial phases of the virus, the tragic situation created a shortage of healthcare professionals and travel nurses since the patient count increased rapidly. To cater to this increased demand for travel nurses initially, the additional barriers to getting a license were removed so nurses could quickly enter the market.

But now that the situation is starting to normalize, travel nurses have had to scrounge for contracts. The stay-at-home portion of the population does not like asking for a nurse even when a situation is serious. Even when people are sick, they don’t want to go to a hospital, so apart from the COVID-19 cases that seemingly have no end – hospitals aren’t seeing a lot of business.

Why Has Everything Changed?

Some of the most noticeable changes that were caused by COVID-19 are:

  • Lesser contracts for travel nurses
  • Lesser wage rate
  • High competition for contracts
  • Decreased ability to negotiate on contracts
  • Higher demand for flexibility

To understand why there has been a dramatic change. Consider this situation:

There’s a contract available in a well-known hospital that can get you a decent wage. There are three applicants, and all three have the same credentials.

  • Applicant A wants their own schedule.
  • Applicant B wants to negotiate the wage rate.
  • Applicant C just wants a job.

Which applicant would you hire?

Since applicant C is completely flexible, they’re going to get the job and accept the contract with negligible changes. And in times like these, these are the kinds of nurses hospitals want since people have different needs and requirements during the pandemic. Because of this, travel nurses have to either fight for their contracts or accept being jobless.

What Will the Future Look Like?

There are no two opinions about the fact that COVID-19 has changed travel nursing, but responding to these challenges wisely in the future can help travel nurses change their fate. To ensure life goes on and ends meet, some travel nurses have started to take up non-clinical positions to help trace COVID-19.

While most of the conditions seem like a temporary setback, nothing can be said as of now while the uncertainty due to the coronavirus continues.

APN Healthcare Can Help You

If you are a travel nurse looking for a new assignment, APN Healthcare can help place you in a facility. We help nurses and other healthcare professionals find temporary or permanent placements in a wide range of healthcare organizations. Contact us today at or 609-924-3400. Visit our website and look through our open positions.

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