Nursing has become a very hot profession in recent years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, two of the 30 Fastest-Growing Jobs of 2022 will be nursing-related. The rise in demand for nurses can be linked to the aging baby boomer population and the Affordable Care Act that is aimed at expanding medical care access to more patients.
- On the other hand, one of the reasons nursing is an in-demand profession now is because of a nationwide staffing shortage. Staffing firm Randstad US reports there are 116,000 RN vacancies at hospital settings alone.
- Cynthia Kinnas, executive vice president of Randstad Healthcare and president of the National Association of Traveling Healthcare Organization, says many hospitals are turning to temporary nurses to address the shortage. Kinnas says this is a very flexible option that can offer much-needed help to shortstaffed hospitals.
More nurses are retiring than are entering the field, creating one of the biggest factors contributing to the nursing shortage. According to Kinnas, the average age of nurses is 47, which is considerably higher than other professions. The US Department of Health and Human Services reports the US must graduate approximately 90 percent more nurses in order to keep up with supply and demand.
- Temporary nurses have been used to fill this gap. Kinnnas says temporary nurses typically work full-time on a contract for at least three months and often see their shifts extended.
The temporary nursing field has been dogged by misperceptions, according to Kinnas. Randstad recently looked at three common temporary nursing myths and attempted to shed some light on the realities of the profession.
- Myth 1: Temporary nurses are harmful to patients because they are unfamiliar with the hospital in which they are assigned.
- Truth: Randstad points to a University of Pennsylvania study that indicates having more temporary nurses on staff can help reduce the number of adverse events at a hospital.
- Myth 2: Temporary nurses are less qualified, experienced, and educated than permanent nurses
- Truth: According to Randstad, a higher number of temporary nurses (about 50 percent) hold bachelor’s degrees compared to permanent nurses.
- Myth 3: Temporary nurses have a detrimental effect on permanent staffs
- Truth: The same University of Pennsylvania study indicates that permanent nurses who work with temporary nurses reported higher job satisfaction and were less likely to suffer from burnout.
Temporary nursing can offer a challenging career experiences, but Randstad lists four reasons why temporary nursing can be an exciting career choice:
- 1) It can be a working vacation
- According to the staffing firm, many temporary nurses opt for this career path as a way to see the country while earning a steady income. This can offer empty-nesters or those just starting a career a chance to tour the country while getting paid.
- 2) More flexibility
- Temporary nurses have the flexibility to choose the dates and locations of their assignments. This allows candidates to schedule assignments close to family members and coordinate them to coincide with big events, such as weddings or reunions.
- 3) Boost your resume
- The occupation gives nurses the opportunity to work in a wide array of clinical settings, from rural medical centers to prestigious teaching hospitals. Candidates then get the chance to work with leaders in various specialties and boost their experience levels.
- 4) Less office politics
- Temporary nurses can avoid getting caught up in interoffice political squabbles, and if the political drama is too much, they can opt to leave the hospital when their assignment is over.
Kinnas says the temporary nursing field can be quite lucrative for qualified candidates, especially in Massachusetts which is a mecca for healthcare. Kinnas says Massachusetts offers nurses one of the five best salaries in the country (the other four are California, Hawaii, New Jersey, and Maryland).
- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Massachusetts nurses can earn about $45 per hour or about $85,000 a year — considerably higher than the national average of $65,000.