COVID-19 continues to impact the country and the healthcare industry, making the future unclear. Travel nursing continues to be in high demand, but the landscape has shifted this year. Here’s what you need to know about travel nursing as we continue to navigate these unique circumstances.
The Impact on the Healthcare Industry
As we look towards the new year, there is potential for changes to the number of uninsured patients as well as to Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements. This could lead hospitals and other healthcare facilities to look at cost savings that could affect services and contracts. Although it is tough to say right now, there are some changes we are seeing already.
With new precautions and procedures around COVID-19, healthcare settings are being affected. One area that has been greatly affected by the pandemic is elective surgical procedures. Some facilities are scheduling evening and weekend hours just to catch up from the backlog.
There are concerns for the additional time needed to clean and sanitize between cases as well as testing patients for COVID-19 prior to surgery and maintaining an adequate supply of PPE. Outpatient procedures may be prioritized in some areas to leave beds open for more emergent inpatient cases.
Flu Season and COVID-19
Facilities are already staffing up nurses for the possibility of more hospitalizations this flu season. No one can say for sure what is going to happen, but the CDC warns that the flu viruses and COVID-19 will both be spreading this fall and winter. It is important to take precautions and protect yourself, your patients, and loved ones.
Many facilities are requiring healthcare workers to get a flu shot this year and are not accepting flu shot waivers as frequently as they have before. To stay up to date on the current situation, go to the Flu View on the CDC’s website to monitor the current state of seasonal influenza.
COVID-19 Spikes and Crisis Needs
The conditions are constantly changing. While we see an uptick in elective surgeries in certain states that have opened up more or have moved beyond the initial spike in COVID-19 cases. Meanwhile, there are new pandemic spikes and crisis needs in states that haven’t been hit as hard yet: currently throughout the Midwest.
Facilities are trying to prepare more, now that there is a better understanding of the virus, how to treat it, and how it spreads. We’re seeing shorter contracts in some cases so that facilities don’t have to cancel their travel nurses, but some are sticking with the typical 13-week contract.
Travel Nursing Now
If you are considering travel nursing right now, that decision is a very personal choice. You can choose whether you want to work on the frontlines of the pandemic or distance yourself from high risk areas. Although you still have options, you will need to be more flexible with what shift or schedule you take.
It’s always a good idea to work with your recruiter to determine an assignment based on current needs and your licensing. You can check NCSBN’s Nursys.com to manage your nursing licenses anytime.
With the eNLC, you can travel within participating states if you are a permanent resident in a member state. There are currently 33 states that have implemented NLC legislation. New Jersey is also allowing nurses to practice in the state under their multistate licenses even though they haven’t fully implemented legislation yet. Many states have also temporarily changing some requirements for nurses due to the current state of emergency.
Supplemental Health Care has been working hard to remain up to date on all the developments to stay agile and adaptable. Our SHC teams are here for you as travel nursing continues to change. To find out what travel nursing opportunities and crisis needs are available with SHC, contact us today to get started.