Once, frackers travelled to the Dakotas to make money. Now nurses do

Published in The Economist
January 26, 2023

Despite the obvious risks, nurses from all over America flocked to New York when the city was first afflicted by covid in 2020. As the various waves washed over America, the need for travel nurses grew as other states were hit hard too. Demand for traveling nurses has dipped a bit since, but it remains much higher than it was before the pandemic. Spending on travel nurses is five times what it was in 2019.

According to the American Hospital Association, hospitals spent a median of 40% of their nurse-labour expenses on travel nurses in January 2022, compared with just 5% in January 2019. Barry Asin of Staffing Industry Analysts says the travel nurse increase is the biggest change in staffing he has seen in his two decades of research. The future of travel nurses isone of the biggest questions the health industry is facing says John August, director of healthcare labour relations at Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labour Relations. It is also a wonderful opportunity for nurses with wheels.