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Since the only thing you can see through a crystal ball is your reflection, predicting the future is never easy. You have to turn to analysts and industry experts for the answers. With the economy still sluggish, implementation of the new healthcare law and recent Medicare cuts, you may be wondering what the future holds for the travel nursing industry?
A comprehensive finding on the future of the industry was recently released by Staffing Industry Analysts. Though most are saying the industry is going to experience impressive growth in the next few years, it is still a slippery slope. In the 112-page study, Staffing Industry Analysts reports the healthcare staffing industry is expected to have a fairly robust growth of 8% in 2013. Reflecting gradual economic recovery, this segment is continuing to rebound from steep recession declines and is also benefiting from health information management investments. In their study, they sited several factors were used to make the determination. One major factor is the recent Healthcare reform law that is expected to add millions of new patients to a healthcare system already strained by a permanent work force shortage. As the Affordable Care Act goes into effect, millions of uninsured Americans are expected to gain coverage in 2014, raising future demand for nurses. At the same time, the U.S. population obesity rate is skyrocketing and more Americans continue to age with baby-boomers hitting 65 plus. Both of these situations require more healthcare services. Since the current nursing workforce cannot meet the future demand due to a shortage of permanent staff, the healthcare staffing market could experience a surge.
Travel Nurse Across America’s CEO and President Gene Scott was recently interviewed by Healthcare Traveler Magazine on the future of travel nursing. According to Scott, as the nursing workloads in hospitals continue to shift, the outlook for healthcare travelers continues to be promising. “I do believe that as the demand for nurses increases, and supply can’t keep up, the pay rates for those nurses will continue to increase,” Scott says. Click here to read the full article
While there are multiple opportunities in the travel nursing segment, there are also several challenges. Although much of the success is owed to the ongoing short supply of permanent staff, these shortages also imply a recruiting challenge for staffing firms. Preserving a pool of available and qualified talent is key. Additionally, recruiting high-end specialties and skill ranges requires more extensive knowledge of the skills being recruited. It’s also noteworthy that travel nursing is a relatively concentrated segment, where capital requirements needed to maintain an agency capable of competing on a larger geographic scale may be prohibitive for some.