What is Short-Term Nursing?
Short-term nursing helps hospitals and healthcare systems overcome unexpected shortages in staffing. Short-term travel nurses fill in when a facility simply does not have enough nursing staff for a variety of reasons.
Some of the most common reasons that lead to a requirement for short-term nurses are related to staff fluctuation caused by:
- Cold and flu season
- Man-made disasters
- Natural disasters
The past two and a half years of the coronavirus pandemic have challenged the healthcare system across the entire United States. Nurses became infected with the virus, whilst others suffered the consequences of burnout. Working long hours in challenging conditions also pushed some nurses to change careers. As a result, the demand for short-term nursing increased.
What do Short-Term Nurses do?
Short-term nurses fill all the positions that a hospital’s permanent team would fill, only on a temporary basis. Generally, short-term travel nursing contracts last around 13 weeks, although they can be shorter or longer, too, depending on the hospital’s requirements.
Many short-term nurses register with a specialist staffing agency. When an opening becomes available, they move to the job location and take care of patients that would otherwise suffer from a less-than-ideal level of care.
Short-term nurses are critical in allowing healthcare systems to continue delivering exceptionally high levels of care.
Types and Specialties of Short-Term Nurses’ Jobs
Like permanent nursing staff, short-term nurses are needed across a wide variety of specialties. Some of the most in-demand specialties include:
- Intensive care and progressive care units (ICU and PCU)
- Surgery and Telemetry or a combination of both
- Emergency room nursing
- Operating room care
This list is by no means exhaustive as individual demands depend on the needs of hospitals and the reason for the staff shortage. Cold and flu season, for example, tends to affect nurses across all specialties during the colder months.
Natural disasters like earthquakes or flooding may lead to a sudden increase in patients in specific hospitals. Man-made threats like incidents of terrorism can have the same effect. In these cases, short-term nurses are essential in alleviating the additional pressure on the healthcare system.
Benefits of Short-Term Nursing
For understaffed hospitals, access to qualified, short-term nurses is essential to continue looking after their patients or deal with a sudden increase in patients.
Nurses themselves benefit from higher pay than they would receive in a permanent position. They are also able to build their career more flexibly. With most contracts finishing after 13 weeks, it is easy to take time off for other pursuits before picking up the next contract.
Short-term nursing is an excellent option for registered nurses looking to further their careers whilst keeping control of their work-life balance and enjoying the flexibility of travel.