How to Attract Travel Nurses (and Fill Your Talent Gap)

Hooray for travel nurses—those intrepid registered nurses who accept short-term, long-distance nursing assignments on demand. These bold souls are helping to alleviate healthcare staffing shortages nationwide. For hospitals that can’t seem to recruit enough RNs—or recruit them fast enough—employing travel nurses is a smart interim solution.

However, just as the demand for staff nurses is growing (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 203,000 RN openings go unfilled each year), so is the demand for travel nurses. For many hospitals, it’s yet another healthcare recruiting challenge, since top travel nurses have their pick of plum assignments.

Fortunately, there are steps that hospitals can take to attract experienced travel nurses. It starts by understanding their how their world works—and what draws them to this nomadic lifestyle.


Understanding the Travel Nurse Market 

Since the pandemic, travel nursing has become increasingly popular, both with RNs and healthcare organizations.

Sweeping talent shortages—particularly in areas with high patient demand and in rural regions—have led more hospitals to rely on travel nurses in order to maintain adequate staffing levels. At the same time, a growing number of overworked RNs view travel nursing as a way to escape looming burnout without leaving a profession they love.

In fact, there are more than 1,733,500 travel nurses currently working in the U.S.

While some healthcare employers are using specialized staffing agencies to find travel nurses, others are recruiting directly. And although the standard assignment is 13 weeks, contracts may be shorter or longer. It’s a fluid, flexible arrangement, and that’s part of the appeal.

What Makes Travel Nurses Tick?    

It takes a certain type of person to become a travel nurse. Many are driven by a love of adventure, choosing assignments based on location. Some seek popular vacation spots like Hawaii and California; others are drawn to iconic cities like New York and Miami.

Still, others are driven not by location, but by compensation, actively seeking out the highest-paying gigs. And, without question, travel nursing pays well. The average salary for travel nurses is $126,384, compared to $93,042 for staff nurses. In addition, travel nurses receive cash stipends to cover their housing, mileage, meals and relocation expenses.

But here’s the challenge for most healthcare employers: what if your facility isn’t located in a dream destination? And what if you can’t afford to pay top-dollar wages?

Don’t worry, you can still compete. You just need to be more strategic about it.


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Solution: Offer a Standout Travel Experience

For many travel nurses, the greatest challenge is getting from Point A to Point B—and then finding comfortable-yet-affordable short-term housing. When healthcare employers offer more than a travel stipend—when they actually facilitate the relocation process—that’s a compelling advantage.

For example, hospitals could provide traveling nurses with:

  1. Referrals to high-quality movers, rental agencies, etc.
  2. Cut-above housing options
  3. Appealing information about their area and its attractions        

In addition, should they leverage their organization’s buying power to secure discounts for their travel nurses—so those stipends go further—that would be a gamechanger.

Of course, most hospitals don’t have the time or manpower to do these things. That’s where we come in.

Roll Out the Red Carpet: UB Marketplace 

Imagine if you could offer travel nurses all of the above: help planning and executing their moves…a great intro to your city…and impressive housing options. All at deep, deep vendor discounts that essentially double or triple the value of their cash stipend.

That’s what UB Marketplace does.  

You already know that UrbanBound specializes in serving the healthcare industry by facilitating smooth, low-stress relocations for healthcare professionals and managing lump sum disbursements—aka, cash stipends—for employers.

With UB Marketplace, we put these services together—and, in the process, created a new way to attract travel nurses. And like all of our tech-based relocation solutions, it’s jaw-droppingly affordable.

If you’re looking for a way to recruit more travel nurses (or staff nurses, physicians and researchers for that matter), you owe it to your hospital to check us out.

Find out how UB Marketplace can help you stand out with travel nurses—and how we can help you transform your overall recruiting results.


Human Resources Today