You might have started your career path knowing you wanted to jet set and see the country (or world) using your skills as a badass medical professional. Or, you might have heard about the exciting opportunity to take “your show” on the road from another traveler you’ve encountered and though, “uh, yes please!” Either way, Business News Daily reports that traveling nurse/medical professional is one of the best jobs to scratch your travel itch.Not sure if you know this (wink), but the pay is a nice perk of the job, too. Good news, opportunities for the medical travelers, as well as the advancement of technology to (hopefully) make your job easier will continue to expand in the next several years. Cue The Jeffersons’ theme song, “Movin’ on Up.”
The demand for medical travelers is growing
The demand for registered nurses is projected to grow 12% from 2018 to 2028, and the demand for all medical travelers is expected to grow 16% in the next four years. This is much faster than the average for all occupations according to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics. Why’s that, you ask? Well, with increased attention to preventative care and growing rates of chronic conditions, the demand for medical care services continues to increase. Baby boomers are aging but they’re also living longer and leading more active lives, putting additional demands on the medical community.
Medical travelers are deployed to areas of need so, naturally, there’s greater need in smaller, remote areas where access to a plethora of fresh, newly graduated medical professionals banging down the doors for a job just don’t exist. So, while your dream location can become your reality, you might take note that you can find higher pay and usually better staff-to-patient ratios in rural areas of the country—if pay is at the top of your priorities.
Finding your work-life balance
It’s no secret that a work-life balance minimizes stress, burnout and promotes well-being; the secret is how you accomplish that balance. When creating your ideal work-life balance, there is no cookie-cutter solution. Everyone’s pie is cut differently and not everyone divides their work and personal life directly in half. Give yourself the flexibility to thrive in your professional life but make the conscious decision to fully enjoy a break and an actual vacation occasionally. Traveling to a new and unfamiliar location for work is a definite perk (at least, in most eyes), but it’s not a vacation. There will be more days spent at work than at the beach, we hate to break it to you.
That said, consider where and when you want you want to take personal time and schedule it between assignments. If you can tap into your psyche and know when to take some “you time” before burnout rears its ugly head, well then, you’ve just found the key to eternal happiness.
Salaries are increasing (woohoo!)
The national median salary for a travel nurse is growing, but it’s not all about the Benjamins. Perks like picking your locations and work settings, maintaining financial security by living according to your ideal work-life balance, taking vacation on your time without having to ask permission is nothing to sneeze at. A recent study shows that almost 31% of the workforce would give up a significant amount of money for a better work-life balance.
Here’s another perk: annual salaries are expected to grow in this field, especially for medical professionals who specialize. The most in-demand and highest-paying jobs for travelers require specialized training, knowledge and experience. Why? Because, according to the law of supply and demand, the greater the demand, the higher the salary. Don’t worry, that’s the extent of our microeconomics lesson for today.
A 2016 study published in Human Resources for Health shows a global demand for 80 million healthcare workers by 2030. The supply of healthcare professionals is expected to reach just 65 million, leaving a shortage of 15 million worldwide. This shortage is good news for your wallet and lifestyle. As a traveling medical pro, you can negotiate your location, length of commitment and hours. You’re wanted and needed in just about every state, assuming you have no outstanding warrants, in which case, that’s none of our business.
Innovations in technology continue to evolve
Before the mid-2000s, medical records were papers (yuck) filled with illegible handwriting and typed dictation, then filed according to a hospital or medical facility's system. Part of your job, as a medical professional, was to first find the records and then interpret them—joy! Your favorite, we’re sure.
Today, Electronic Health Records (EMRs) and Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) are quickly becoming the standard—and yes, we heard that loud, collective grunt of annoyance. Look, change is hard regardless of what it is; but it’s a necessary “evil” that will eventually free up more of your time for patient interaction and care; effectively saving more lives—and trees, as a bonus to good ‘ole Mother Nature.
As adoption rates of EMRs continue to gain traction, the whole process will get easier and more efficient. Just 15 years ago, EMR adoption was basically non-existent. Today, that number has skyrocketed to 87% in hospitals and facilities nationwide. In theory, your medical travel career will continue to get easier as medical records become easier to access and interpret. Correct us if we’re wrong, but pretty sure you didn’t enter the medical profession for the paperwork. Unless paperwork is your jam and somehow cathartic for you—in which case, we’ve had special projects we’ve staffed specifically for EMR conversions. Some have been work-from-home assignments too, bringing even more opportunities to the table for travelers.
Medical providers and software developers are still ironing out some problems such as cost, ease of use, and ability to work across different platforms. You can be assured that as problems are identified they are being dealt with—nobody wants to be on the other end of the line of a pissed off nurse or physician; believe us.
For more information about the exciting opportunities that await you as a traveler, just holler at us. Check out the positions that are open right now to see the reach and range of assignments we have to offer your little gypsy heart.