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What is the Origin of Travel Nursing?

Vintage photograph of a group of travel nurses, reflecting the historical roots of travel nursing in the blog 'What is the Origin of Travel Nursing

Where would we be today if nurses had never stepped out of their comfort zone to help others?

In the beginning, travel nursing was not as popular nor as essential as it is today, but the pioneers who recognized the need for it stepped forward, tracing back to the 1850s.

It was Florence Nightingale along with 37 other volunteer nurses who traveled to Turkey to assist wounded English soldiers from the Crimean War. Six and a half years later, during the Civil War, a nurse named Clara Barton traveled from Europe to Washington D.C. to attend to the wounded from both sides.

Although they weren’t our modern version of “travel nurses” staffed by travel nursing agencies and healthcare organizations, these women sparked the idea that nurses could travel to different locations to assist those in need.

Travel Nursing in America

Travel nursing emerged in America in the late 1970s in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was Mardi Gras Week in 1978 when a high volume of injuries overwhelmed the hospitals and staff. To solve the crisis, hospitals in New Orleans contracted nurses from around the country to come in and provide extra support for a few weeks. It was after this unexpected incident that the idea of travel nursing found traction in the 1980s. The growing national nursing shortage was real and travel nursing was a smart, temporary solution. 

Toward the end of the 1980s, travel nursing positions continued to be widely accepted and available. Short travel nurse assignments became a cost-effective method for healthcare facilities to deal with staff shortages. For some nurses, it offered a lucrative way to sharpen their skills and acquire valuable experience in the industry—this is still true for travelers today. 

Travel Nursing Today

Today a career in travel nursing is gratifying both personally and professionally. Healthcare facilities deem traveling nurses essential to their ever-changing, ongoing demands. Another aspect of travel nursing is the opportunities available to choose work locations.

The digital age has been an essential factor in helping to expand travel nursing opportunities. Technology has made it increasingly easy for hospitals and healthcare facilities to quickly find travel nurses as needed. Travel nursing agencies such as Anders Group now make it easy for skilled nursing and allied healthcare professionals to experience the excitement of travel while pursuing what they do best. 

It's important to point out that historically, nursing has been thought of as a profession composed of female nurses. However, since 1970, the number of male nurses has been increasing. Today, the percentage of male nurses is over 13% and in some areas and specializations, male nursing is even more common. Around 35% of active duty military nurses are male and 41% of registered nurse anesthetists are male.

The need for travel nurses and other healthcare professionals skyrocketed during the pandemic. The lack of permanent staff in various healthcare facilities and the extremely high volume of patients created an unprecedented scenario. That’s where agencies such as Anders Group were able to step in and meet the demands of hospitals throughout the U.S.

Generally speaking, there is a need for more chronic and long-term care professionals for older generations who are now living longer but still require various levels of healthcare. The changing demographics and the widening gap among active healthcare professionals have made the travel nursing and healthcare industry more essential than ever. 

The Future of Travel Nursing

While the pandemic may be over, travel nursing is still undergoing an evolution. Several trends are expected to emerge over the next few years. 

Increased collaboration: Healthcare facilities are placing a greater concentration on teamwork and collaboration between travel nurses and permanent staff, creating a more integrated approach to patient care.

Greater demand for specialties: Specialized nurses, such as those with expertise in critical care or specific medical specialties, are in high demand. Travel nurses with these unique skill sets will continue to find prime opportunities.

Remote care demand: Remote healthcare services and telemedicine have become integral parts of healthcare delivery. Travel nurses with remote capabilities will be especially sought-after.

Focus on mental health and wellness: There’s an increasing emphasis on mental health and wellness programs tailored to travel nurses’ needs. These programs help to ensure the well-being of nurses as they navigate the demands of the profession.

Travel Nursing at Anders Group

If you’re an RN, you know your skills are in high demand. There are not enough RNs to meet the needs of today’s healthcare system demands. That simply means you can take your skill wherever you want to go.

Joining the thousands of traveling nurses, you could expand your nursing career options and travel to places you’ve never been. You can have a rewarding, highly compensated nursing career and an adventure at the same time with Anders Group. 

You may be just starting your career or perhaps you’re a seasoned professional – either way, Anders Group will help you find the travel nursing job that’s right for you and help you to experience the fun and rewards of work and travel.

Get in touch with Anders Group today and explore travel nurse jobs that can take you to new destinations and new opportunities.

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