Travel Nurses Gaining Acceptance

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Travel Nurses

Travel nurses, who typically work 13-week assignments at hospitals, say they are generally accepted by managers, other nurses, physicians and patients in the work place.

Conducted by AMN Healthcare, the nation's largest temporary healthcare staffing firm, the survey asked over 1,200 travel nurses to comment on their experiences working temporary assignments. Ninety-eight percent or more indicated that they are accepted or tolerated on these assignments by nurse managers, physicians, patients, and members of the permanent nursing staff. According to Marcia Faller, RN, chief clinical officer of AMN Healthcare, the survey suggests that the use of travel nurses has been embraced by the medical establishment.

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"Travel nurses are still a relatively new segment of the overall nurse workforce," Faller notes. "Though it has taken time for them to earn acceptance, travel nurses have steadily moved from the periphery of the nurse workforce to the mainstream."

The survey demonstrates that, in general, travel nurses have positive feelings about working on temporary assignments that can take them to locations throughout the country. Ninety-five percent of travel nurses surveyed indicated that travel nursing has enhanced their professional growth, while 93% indicated that working as a "traveler" has enhanced their lifestyle. Ninety-three percent of those surveyed also indicated that travel nursing has taught them important life lessons.

Travel nurses surveyed rated freedom and flexibility as the most important reasons why they choose to work as travelers, followed by travel, higher pay, "no politics," and the opportunity to meet new people. Indeed, 86% of those surveyed said that they had met people on travel assignments that they now consider to be good friends, while 66% said they had been to places on travel assignments where they would like to move on a permanent basis.

When asked to compare their experience working as travelers to their experience working in permanent nursing positions, 52% of nurses surveyed said that travel nursing is more rewarding than working in a permanent position. Forty-two percent said travel nursing and permanent work are equally rewarding, while six percent said permanent work is more rewarding than travel nursing. Nurses were asked how they feel about the nursing profession in general after having worked as travelers. Thirty-four percent said they feel more positive about nursing, ten percent said they feel less positive, and 56% said their feelings have not changed.

The survey indicates that nurses do have some reservations about working as travelers. Thirty-seven percent of those surveyed said that travel nurses tend to draw more difficult duties than permanent staff, though the majority (56%) said there was no significant difference. Nurses surveyed also indicated that the quality of travel assignments can be a concern. However, 98% of nurses surveyed said they are either very satisfied or somewhat satisfied working as travelers.

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