As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals and healthcare systems have leaned on healthcare travelers to address exacerbated staffing shortages. While this healthcare staffing shortage continues to press on, some health systems are addressing their staffing needs by creating internal travel programs. Here’s everything you need to know about health systems creating insider travel.
- What are internal travel nurse programs?
- What's the difference between an internal travel nurse and an agency travel nurse?
- Potential issues with internal travel agencies
- How does Marketplace give travelers more freedom?
What are internal travel nurse programs?
Internal travel nurse programs or internal travel pools offer short term healthcare contracts, similar to traditional travel contracts offered through staffing agencies. As a result, healthcare systems are creating internal travel nurses, or full-time staff who will be reassigned to work in a different department, facility, or location on a temporary basis.
Healthcare systems are hoping to attract healthcare professionals to their hard-to-fill areas without having to rely on traditional staffing agencies. They’re also trying to retain local staff from leaving to become a healthcare traveler and entice current travelers at their facility to stay. Overall, healthcare systems are creating internal agencies to tackle staffing issues while keeping costs low.
One of the healthcare systems to spark this trend was University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). They created UPMC Travel Staffing which offers six-week contracts to limited locations owned by their systems. Other large health systems like CHI Health, Christus Health, Advent Health, and more have followed suit with similar programs.
What’s the difference between an internal travel nurse and an agency travel nurse?
The difference between an internal travel nurse and a typical travel nurse contracted by a staffing agency comes down to a few things. While the two paths may share similarities like higher pay than staff jobs and short-term contracts, there are quite a few differences.
With internal travel nurse programs, travelers don’t have much of a choice in terms of location, setting, or unit. Travelers are limited to a certain geographical area that the health system operates in and may not have as much of a say when it comes to job preferences.
Another difference is that internal travel nurses don’t have recruiters like normal travelers. Anyone who’s traveled for a while knows that a strong recruiter relationship makes all the difference. Having someone to advocate for you and help you negotiate what you want and need out of a job is a huge benefit of traveling through a traditional staffing agency.
Limited to one source for jobs
Additionally, a typical traveler isn’t tied to one agency. They can compare jobs from multiple agencies through a job board like Marketplace and see where the highest-paying jobs are being offered. In comparison, a traveler would be limited to the rates and jobs an internal travel program is offering.
No tax-free stipends
You also may not be offered the same tax-free stipends through an internal program as you would through a typical agency. Internal programs may give you a housing stipend or provide housing, but they will tax the value of that housing as if it were taxable wages, meaning your take home pay may be less as a result. A huge advantage of being a travel nurse through an agency is being able to maximize your tax-free earnings through stipends and per diems, so you take home the most money as possible.
Potential issues with internal travel agencies
One current fear people may have about internal travel agencies is that there will be a migration of staff from their permanent roles into internal travel positions. To dissuade all their staff workers from taking in-house travel positions, travel pay may not be much more than staff pay, even though it will still come with a similar lifestyle change of a typical travel nurse.
And because these in-house travel positions are limited to a smaller geographical area, traveling may be more feasible for more permanent staff now than ever before, as those unable to travel due to familial or other location related obligations now can. However, this may leave gaps in coverage among staff nurses, especially in less-desirable facilities, which may worsen already existing staff shortages.
How does Marketplace give travelers more freedom?
With Marketplace, you’ll never be limited to a certain location, setting, unit, or pay rate. You have all the freedom, flexibility, and choice as a traveler. We think those things are pretty important, especially given they’re usually the main reason people choose to travel in the first place.
When you use our platform, you can browse and compare thousands of jobs from multiple agencies. You can work with multiple agencies and recruiters at once until you find the perfect job for you. Plus, the job search is always on your terms and in your hands.
We put you in the driver’s seat of your career. You get to call the shots when you travel deciding when, where, and how often you work, choices you may not be afforded if you go through an internal travel nurse program. Browse the vast array of jobs we have for you today on Marketplace.