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How Covid-19 Affected Travel Nursing

COVID-19 took the world by surprise. Humanity wasn’t ready to face such a serious and global disease spread and adapt nor adjust to it. Medical healthcare workers had to learn to implement myriad of changes on the go and travel nurses were no exception and in a way were the most affected profession in healthcare. The pandemic brought a lot of changes into our world and in travel nursing, too. What does that mean for travel nurses and which changes are here to stay?

The rise in travel nursing demand and higher pay

At the very beginning of Covid-19 outbreak, we realized who the most important people were. We saw how demand for healthcare workers skyrocketed and the need for mobile medical staffing including travel nurses increased immensely. Travel nurses became an even greater asset as their mobility and travel habits made them the most competent healthcare workers the medical field had to offer. With the rise in demand, the pay went up too.

Predictions are that the demand for travel nursing professionals will stay the same with some minor fluctuations depending on the course and intensity of the pandemic.

Healthcare workers first in line for the vaccine

Travel nurses are at the frontline of battling the infection and therefore at a higher risk of getting it. On the other hand, healthcare workers are first in line to get a vaccine and to get protected.

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Telemedicine in the health field

One innovation that came naturally in the attempt to diminish social interaction is so-called telemedicine or telehealth. Telemedicine includes virtual health apps and services that appeared as a response to an increased need of avoiding face to face interaction. Apart from the obvious benefit, they do have some downsides that include the inability to engage fully with patients and therefore are not always an option.  

With this newly implemented system, there is some decline in the number of administrative workers in healthcare but it will not affect the number of travel nurses.

Protocol changes

As telemedicine brought changes to everyday functioning of the complete medical system new protocols had to be introduced in the attempt to contain the virus as much as possible and increase safety. New habits and measures of precaution emerged and became the so-called “new normal”.

Hand sanitizing, wearing a mask, and temperature checks became a part of our everyday life and according to researches these measures are here to stay.

Increased stress, anxiety, and burnout

Being a nurse is quite a challenge, being a travel nurse is maybe even more challenging but being a medical worker at the peak of the pandemic is stressful at a whole other level. A lot of medical staff reported an increased level of anxiety, loneliness, and depression during the pandemic, with almost half of them saying they were considering quitting their job. Sleep deprivation was also reported as one of the major issues that affected work efficiency, quality of social relationships, and almost every other life sphere.

Stress levels are expected to decline as the pandemic abates but individual factor has to be taken into consideration and we have yet to see how people will react once it’s hopefully over.

Immunity passport

Another novice that came as a part of the digital revolution caused by COVID-19 is a digital proof of vaccination also known as an immunity passport. We have a lot of different opinions on this passport system and whether or not it should become a requirement but some companies have already stepped forward stating that they will require it as an official document in order to be eligible to use their services.

Some of these companies are major carriers from the airline and cruise sector and as travel nurses have to change their location more frequently this is something we need to have in mind.

Global shift in awareness

COVID-19 has undoubtedly effected not only our physical health but our mental state, too. Adapting mindset and living with uncertainties on a daily basis has led to a global shift in awareness. We had to learn new ways of handling problems in an attempt to manage Covid-19 crisis. We understood the need to constantly upskill, we learned to stay productive and well-informed and to appreciate little things and we evolved in a way.

The world of travel nursing had seen plenty of changes since the pandemic started. Some of them are here to stay and some will be forgotten. Let’s embrace the good ones together and dive into new adventures stronger and as true heroes that travel nurses are.