What is Long-Term Nursing?
Long-term nursing bridges the gap between hiring registered nursing staff as travel nurses and hiring them as permanent employees. Typical travel nursing contracts are valid for 13 weeks. After that, the nurse moves on to another position, often in another city.
Long-term nursing contracts are not as limited. These contracts can be agreed for several months to help hospitals and other healthcare providers deal with more systemic staff shortages. Even before the pandemic, the rate of retirement of registered nurses was outpacing the rate of new nurses entering the field. Combine that with an overall aging population and an increase in chronic diseases, and it is easy to see why short-term temporary nursing is not enough for many healthcare providers. In some cases, long-term nursing also leads to permanent hires.
What do Long-Term Nurses Do?
Long-term nurses commit to one hospital or one healthcare facility for several months. They remain employed by a medical staffing agency, but rather than changing location frequently, they work in one hospital.
During their contract, long-term nurses undertake the same work as their permanently employed colleagues. Their day-to-day routine depends on their specialty and the patients they are looking after.
Types and Specialties of Long-Term Nurses Jobs
Long-term contract nurses can be found in every single field of healthcare. Intensive care units, emergency rooms, specialist wards, operating rooms – you name a medical specialty, and there will be long-term nurses to care for patients in the field.
Long-term nursing also creates opportunities for nurses to expand their knowledge of a field of nursing they may be new to. Staying in that field for several months, rather than a few days or weeks, allows you to build a good amount of experience during your contract.
Benefits of Long-Term Nursing
Why would hospitals and other facilities opt for long-term nursing contracts over permanent hires? There are plenty of reasons. First, long-term contracts can be an ideal segway into permanent employment. Both employer and registered nurse benefit by being able to see whether they are a good fit.
Plus, long-term contracts limit the workload of hospital HR teams. By working with a reputable staffing agency, your team spends less time and budget advertising and interviewing to fill vacancies. Nursing staff turnover also becomes a smaller problem as temporary or long-term replacements are little more than a phone call away. Hospitals also save on relocation costs and need to devote fewer hours to developing retention schemes and other bonuses.
Registered nurses benefit from having flexible contracts with some degree of planning security depending on the duration of the contract. In addition, contract work can come with better rates of pay, too.