Travel Nurses Increasing Amid Staffing Shortage, New Rule
The Fresno Bee on Sunday examined some nurses' decisions to enlist with travel registries that place them in temporary hospital assignments, as hospitals attempt to fill staff vacancies caused by nurse shortages and a new state nurse staffing rule.
Travel nurses receive about $8 more per hour than hospital staff nurses. Salaries vary by region, with travel nurses in the Fresno area earning an average of $26 to $35 per hour, according to Alan Braynin, CEO of travel nurse registry Access Nurses.
In addition, agencies typically pay for nurses' housing and sometimes pay for rental vehicles. Travel nurses' assignments last 13 weeks on average, during which nurses work 12-hour shifts three days per week. Assignments also can be extended. Nurses sometimes receive a completion bonus at the end of an assignment.
According to Braynin, hospitals pay more per hour for a travel nurse than a staff nurse because agencies typically provide workers' compensation insurance, health insurance and other benefits for contracted nurses. Agencies that place travel nurses conduct background checks, drug tests and other necessary screening. Agencies also verify that a nurse meets state credential requirements.
According to the Bee, most San Joaquin Valley hospitals have relied on travel nurses at some point, but some hospitals now are "putting more emphasis on recruitment" of permanent staff because of the high cost of travel nurses.
According to Leanne Oatman, national director of medical staffing for Comforce, hospitals in California hire travel nurses more than hospitals in other states do. Oatman also said that nurses from other states often list California as a top preference for work assignments (Correa, Fresno Bee, 4/10).