With millions of Americans gaining health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, the demand for traveling nurses is the highest it has been in over twenty years. According AMN Healthcare CEO Susan Salka, the nation’s largest travel nurse company, as hospitals continue to search for experienced staff in areas such as intensive care and emergency room treatment, the orders for traveling nurses has increased drastically.
The rationale for traveling nurses can be explained due to seasonal demand. In a study conducted in 2011 by KPMG, almost half of all hospitals surveyed experienced seasonal influxes in retiree states, such as Arizona and Florida, thus forcing them to hire traveling nurses to keep up with the volume of patients.
Contrary to the assertion that there is a correlation between traveling nurses and patient mortality rates, researchers from The University of Pennsylvania studied over one million patients and 40,000 nurses from 600 hospitals, and found no connection between the two variables. In fact, a spokeswoman for the study claims the “hiring of temporary nurses can alleviate shortages that could produce higher patient mortality.” To ensure that each traveling nurse is qualified and familiar with his/her work environment, hospitals encourage nurses to spend a few days getting oriented with their colleagues and the daily procedures of the hospital before beginning work.
Summary by Chris D'Arrigo
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Christopher D’Arrigo currently works as a Financial Operations Manager for Blackboard, Inc. in Doylestown, PA, and is a contributor to Medical Groups. Chris graduated from Saint Joseph’s University with a focus in Accounting and enjoys studying the financial trends and technological developments of the healthcare industry.