The demand for nurses is exceeding the supply, and millennials are hitting the open road in today’s “gig” economy and becoming at least a partial solution to a workforce problem.
Emergency room nurse Nathan Craft and his wife, Annie, (photo) don’t expect anything to be easy as they pull up stakes for the next two years. The RV they remodeled will be tight quarters for them and their two preschool-age kids. And there’s a certain amount of stress in not knowing where they’re going to set down next, reports KCUR.
But like a growing number of nurses, the Crafts are answering the call of the open road. For them and others, the lifestyle and opportunity for higher pay as a traveling nurse outweighs the inconveniences of uprooting their lives for a new job every three months.
Traveling nurses, a little-noticed sub-niche of the healthcare industry, seems to be catching on with millennials and younger baby boomers who, like the Crafts, want a change of scenery and a chance to make more money. Problem – in this case – the demand for nurses exceeding the supply.
Travel nurses typically sign on with agencies that place them in short-term assignments. The usual posting is for 13 weeks, but employers can ask for a second stint if they still need the help. If that doesn’t happen, the nurse will start looking for a new assignment toward the end of the contract.
For nurses, the expense and uncertainty is balanced out by the higher pay, some of which is tax-free, according to John Nolan, a partner and vice president of Heartland Healthcare Providers, an agency based in Kansas City.