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Travel Nursing: Understanding Changing Industry Dynamics

For more than 30 years, travel nurses have played a crucial role providing flexible, on-demand staffing options to hospitals to meet patient care needs. During the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals depended on travel nurses to help address critical staffing shortages by providing highly qualified health care professionals on-demand. Today, as the country grapples with an unprecedented shortage of nurses, travel nurses, although a small fraction of nurses working in the U.S., continue to support hospitals and care for patients where they are needed most.

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The Increasingly Important Role of Travel Nurses

Download AMN Healthcare’s new whitepaper, The Critical Role of Nurses in the Pandemic, to learn more about the changing marketplace dynamics and the underlying drivers.

Nursing by the Numbers

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3.1 M

Nurses currently working in patient care roles

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Nurses currently working as travel nurses

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Increase in nurse vacancies from 2019 to 2020 according to the AHA

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1.1 M

Nurses will need to be hired by 2026 to meet market demand

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1 in 5

Healthcare workers have quit the profession since the pandemic

Sources: AHA, Morning Consult, AMN Healthcare

Travel Nurses are a Lifeline for Hospitals

During the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals depended on travel nurses to address critical staffing shortages by providing highly qualified health care professionals on-demand. AMN Healthcare has prioritized supporting hospitals by making sure they have the clinical staff they need to treat patients.

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A Growing Shortage of Nurses

Today, the nurse shortage is among the most significant challenges facing U.S. hospitals. The pandemic dramatically accelerated and worsened nursing shortages, as many nurses left the profession due to demoralizing workplace pressures.


To address staffing shortfalls, hospitals turned to travel nurses and temporary clinical staff to fill critical gaps in providing patient care.

Talent Shortages Drive Increased Nurse Compensation

Market demand directly impacts the economics of travel nurse staffing. As the nurse shortage intensifies and qualified nurses are in greater demand, compensation requirements for all nurses, including travel nurses, have also increased. In this market, nurses are rightfully being paid more for their expertise, commitment, compassion and courage. 


When the availability of talent is meaningfully lower than demand, compensation will naturally rise. This has been the case in the healthcare sector.

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What Marketplace Factors Impact Travel Nurse Pricing?

As travel nurses become ever important in the changing landscape of care, AMN Healthcare’s new whitepaper, The Critical Role of Nurses in the Pandemic, examines what’s behind increasing costs for staffing these necessary healthcare professionals.

AMN’s Continued Partnership with Hospitals

Historic Shortage of Clinicians has Created Challenges for our Hospital Partners

AMN has responded to hospital’s needs during the pandemic by scaling our solutions and technology to answer a stunning rise in labor demand across healthcare. From year-end 2019 through 2021, AMN Healthcare experienced a 194% increase in demand for travel nurses.

Our Nurse Staffing Process

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AMN is Committed to Collaborative Solutions

Addressing the long-term nurse shortage is the most appropriate way to ensure hospitals have the nurses they need to care for patients and to better control travel nurse staffing costs. Although there is no singular fix to the supply shortage in healthcare staffing, progress can be made if there is broad collaboration across the industry that focuses on specific initiatives.


In addition to aligning with clients and professional organizations on collaborative solutions, AMN has significantly increased investments to address clinician education, workforce diversity, the resiliency of clinicians, and clinician wellness programs.


Trees surrounded by environmental, social, and governmental  risks and opportunities, to advance the health of people and the planet


Environmental, Social & Governance Report

At AMN Healthcare, we take a multi-stakeholder approach to managing ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) risks and opportunities, and we actively engage our team members, healthcare professionals, clients, shareholders, supplier partners, and local and global communities to advance the health of people and the planet.

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2021 AMN Healthcare Survey of Registered Nurses

The AMN Healthcare 2021 Survey of Registered Nurses illustrates the pandemic’s impact on the mental health and well-being of nurses and much more.

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2021 Healthcare Trends Survey Report

Download a comprehensive survey report from AMN Leadership Solutions that lists eleven trends covering the pandemic’s influence on strategy, talent management to extend throughout year.

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