Sun 23 Sep, 2007 10:42 pm
What do you think about the travel nursing industry? In short, given the extreme nursing shortage in America the hospitals are hiring temporary nurses from travel nursing agencies who relocate the nurses for 13 week assignments.
Do you think this drives up the cost of healthcare? Is it a reasonable way to staff hospitals?
It is a reasonable way if the hospitals are using the traveling nurses for seasonal/cyclical reasons. Some aspects traveling nurses can actually lower the costs of healthcare. My brother used to be a traveling nurse and the jobs he received were due to cyclical reasons. For instance he has worked in Florida and Palm Springs during the winter months when these areas see an increase in population. If the traveling nurse option were not available for these hospitals, then they may have to hire more nurses when the population levels are lower in order to staff up for the busy times of years causing the overall costs to be even greater.
However, the issue of higher costs come into play if a hospital that is in area that does not see much change due to cyclical/seasonal reasons. If they are simply replacing a permanent position with a series of temporary employees then this could drive up costs.