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Traveling Nurses Easing Staff Shortages

With the acute shortage of nurses nationwide, travel nursing has come into its own within the health care profession. Today, a well-qualified nurse with experience in a high-demand specialty can find short-term placements almost anywhere in the country - including exotic resort locations like Hawaii and the Caribbean - throughout the year. Registered nurses with at least 10 months of clinical experience and good references are eligible. These temporary assignments, typically lasting 13 weeks, are often staff positions in critical care settings in locations ranging from rural areas to cruise ships and resort areas. Travel nursing offers something for everyone at every career stage: the allure of travel and unique settings; rewarding positions at top teaching hospitals and research institutions; and challenging work in hard-pressed, underserved areas. "For a nurse or nurse practitioner with a flexible schedule, travel nursing can be a very appealing career option as it offers higher pay, flexibility, variety and often the opportunity for business travel," said Andrea Higham, director of The Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing's Future, a public awareness and image-building campaign that is addressing the nursing shortage through nursing scholarships and nursing student recruitment activities.

"It's one of the many areas of specialty where current demand far exceeds supply." Those interested usually get their start with placement companies to determine openings. Candidates complete an application, discuss their plans and interests with a recruiter, and conduct telephone and in-person interviews with potential health care facilities. If the candidate is offered a position, the travel company helps with the details of travel documents, credentialing and licensure, hospital orientation, housing (some provide free or subsidized apartments) and even arrangements for furniture and utilities.


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