Our VP of EPMO and Diversity, Adrienne Nakamura, recently spoke at SIA Healthcare Staffing Summit about travel nursing trends and an industry outlook on healthcare staffing.
Recently, I joined representatives from the healthcare staffing industry at the annual Healthcare Executive Forum hosted by Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA). I was very excited to participate in a panel called “Travel Nurse Trends and Outlooks: The Rollercoaster Continues” where I spoke with colleagues from several healthcare staffing companies to discuss the current and future state of the travel nursing industry.
With continued clinician and nursing shortages, declines in staffing utilization, and lower rates for workers, revenue in the healthcare staffing industry is expected to decline by as much as 30% this year according to SIA estimates. Furthermore, even with the transition of so-called “boomerang nurses” going back to core staff roles, rates of stress and burnout remain high among nurses in the U.S.
Top Travel Nursing Trends
The following trends are likely to influence our industry in both the short and long term, and determining how to navigate these shifts will be a major priority within the travel nursing industry. Supplemental Health Care will also be focusing on promoting the wellbeing of our healthcare systems, our clinicians, and the patients that we all serve together.
Legislation and Regulation
New legislation and regulatory developments across our industry are shifting the financial and workforce landscapes. California’s new minimum wage requirements for healthcare workers, proposed legislation that could potentially cap healthcare staffing rates, and pay transparency requirements in a growing number of states are all important recent developments that require constant monitoring and adjustment.
In addition to these trends, changes to healthcare funding models and new minimum staffing requirements can put additional stress on already burdened healthcare facilities and systems. These stressors can be passed into the travel nursing industry in the form of lower pay rates or a reduction in open positions.
The aging demographics, especially in populous states like California, New York, Arizona, Florida, and Texas, will continue to drive increased utilization of healthcare services across the continuum of care, from traditional hospital ERs and ORs to skilled nursing facilities, ambulatory clinics, and home health care. This will certainly increase the demand for acute care in hospitals, but also for home health nurses, allied health professionals, and ambulatory services.
Additionally, the increasing diversity of the U.S. population elevates the importance of culturally congruent care. The best way to provide high quality healthcare services is to cultivate and support a diverse healthcare workforce.
Finally, improving access to mental health resources and educational support services will be critical for addressing the overall health challenges facing the U.S. As a 40-year veteran of behavioral health care, SHC is uniquely aware of the importance of mental health services and the challenges that providers are facing.
The simple truth is that we live in a world that the technology giants have built. Candidates, clients, and our own internal employees have expectations for speed, transparency, and ease of use from their daily interactions with streaming services, social media, and mobile devices.
At SHC, our goal is to create a high touch experience enabled by high tech solutions, and the implementation of the SHC WeConnect mobile app, which has been downloaded more than 30,000 times in its first year, is one of many steps that we’ve undertaken to ensure that our services provide fast and friction-free support that our customers expect.
The final and most important topic to consider is the wellbeing of the clinicians themselves. Nurses continue to report much greater levels of stress and are now historically less likely to recommend nursing as a career. The MIT Sloan Management Review finds that nurses choose staffing roles for higher pay, but they also say that contracts help them avoid toxic workplaces and receive better organizational support.
As we navigate the trends shaping the future of travel nursing, we have to remember that our nurses are human beings doing incredibly important work that is often emotionally, mentally, and physically challenging. As a career partner, it is important to support them through these challenges.
The Future of Travel Nursing
In the past several years, the travel nursing industry has grown by more than 600% and some estimates expect that around 10% of working nurses will remain in contract roles long-term. The foundational shifts driving both the support and demand for healthcare professionals won’t be settled any time soon.
It’s critical that the travel nursing industry remain committed to supporting the best outcomes for our working nurses, promoting a talent pool that is as diverse as the patient populations we serve. We will continue to offer the support and flexibility that attract healthcare workers to companies like Supplemental Health Care.
Supplemental Health Care’s Commitment
We’re proud to be a six-time recipient of ClearlyRated’s Best of Staffing Talent & Client Awards, and one of the few large healthcare staffing agencies to win the Diamond Awards across both our Talent and Client audiences. In addition, SHC is home to the recently announced 2024 American Staffing Association Staffing Employee of the Year and Health Sector All-Star, Dr. Kelly Bird, making SHC the only company to receive this award twice.
Our commitment to making “Connections that Fuel Miracles” at healthcare facilities and schools across the United States remains strong. As we address these trends and their challenges, SHC is dedicated to supporting solutions that create positive outcomes for our clinicians, our clients, and our communities.
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