There would be no healthcare without nurses. And the current nursing shortage is proof.
Since the 90s, the U.S. has experienced a serious nursing shortage. With an increase of registered nurses (RNs) retiring or leaving the profession, there’s an overwhelming upsurge in the level of care patients need and a decrease in nursing faculty available to teach incoming nursing students.
The national nursing shortage has left vacancies in nearly every unit and specialty. In fact, it’s estimated that 1.2 million new RNs will be needed by 2030 because in addition to the newly created jobs, the roles of nurses predicted to retire or change professions will also need to be filled.
So, what can you do? As a vital player in the nursing field, here are steps you can take to make your mark in the effort to reduce the U.S. nursing shortage.
Keep up with healthcare employment trends
The healthcare and travel industries change constantly. Give yourself an advantage and keep up with the most-recent trends, especially when it comes to employment opportunities.
It makes sense that more demand would equal more money and since healthcare travelers are highly desirable, the potential you have to earn as a healthcare traveler is greatly in your favor. Recent data shows nearly a 15 percent increase in average travel nurse wage from 2019 to 2021. So, if you like making money while doing your thing helping others, keep up with healthcare trends and keep an eye out for high paying travel jobs.
Be strategic with your travel job locations
If you look at travel nurse statistics on a national level, you’ll notice some places are more in need than others. For example, the Bureau of Health Workforce estimates California will need 44,500 RNs by 2030, whereas Florida is projected to have a surplus of more than 50,000 nurses by the same time.
When you’re in search of your next travel nursing job, make location a top priority and consider the nursing shortage on a national level. Don’t focus on places like Florida that have an excess of RNs and instead, focus more towards those areas in greater need, like rural communities.
Since only 16 percent of RNs live in a rural area, the impact of the nursing shortage can be devastating to those communities. Be flexible when it comes to travel job locations and keep your options open to vulnerable places across the country.
Put on your teaching cap
New nurses should learn tricks of the trade by experienced RNs because the best educators are those with experience in the field they’re teaching. The average age of nurses in the U.S. has increased and that means the same is true for those who have stepped into teaching positions.
A 2020 report found that over 80,000 qualified nursing school applicants were rejected from baccalaureate and graduate programs due to a lack of faculty, clinical study sites, classroom space, and budget constraints. Unfortunately, a decrease in nursing faculty means less and less nursing grads join the workforce each year, and the nursing shortage continues to grow.
One way to help alleviate the pains of the nursing shortage is to put your teaching cap on and take a newer RN under your wing. Or consider getting your master’s degree to become a professional educator and help shape the young minds of the future of healthcare.
Advocate for your fellow RNs
The good news is there’s power in numbers. Most everyone benefits from the skilled hands and minds of nurses across the U.S. and RNs deserve to be cared about the way they’ve cared for others all these centuries.
“Fixing the nursing crisis is not just about getting more nurses into the system,” said Anita Charlesworth, Director of Research and REAL Centre at The Health Foundation. “Nurses can only care for the nation if we care for them, which means attractive pay and conditions, flexible approaches to training, development and working life.”
Get motivated to advocate during the policymaking process at your state and federal level. If you don’t know where to get started or who to get in touch with, the American Nursing Association provides an RN Activist Toolkit to get you going. Once you have the right information for you, encourage your friends and family to call their representatives, as well, to spread the word.
Take control of your healthcare career
One of the best things you can do to help reduce the U.S. nursing shortage is take control of your healthcare career and Fusion Marketplace makes that easier than ever.
You have full autonomy over what your career looks like, so use that power to your advantage. Use Fusion Marketplace to explore tens of thousands of travel nursing jobs in bucket list locations and take your RN talents to the next level. Your personalized traveler profile saves your professional information, credentials, and job preferences to make it effortless to apply for opportunities across multiple healthcare staffing agencies.
Marketplace makes the unknowns known so you can choose where you work, when you work, and how you work to completely customize your travel nursing experience. This traveler one-stop-shop allows you to easily find your travel job and temporary housing on the same platform and with only a few clicks of a button.
Before you hit the road, check out recruiter profiles and read recruiter ratings and reviews left by other travelers. Once you’ve completed your assignment, go back and leave your own rating and review to share how your travel job went.
Reversing the nursing shortage won’t be easy. As an RN or fellow healthcare professional, you have direct influence on patients, families, and each other. And now that we're living in a world with over 7.5 billion people and only 19 million nurses, your healthcare expertise is even more needed.
To help alleviate some of the shortage pains, stay up to date with healthcare employment trends, choose your travel job destinations strategically, act as a teacher/mentor, advocate for other RNs, and control your travel nursing career through a traveler-first community, Fusion Marketplace.