What the Travel Nursing Market will look like in 2024

If you’re missing the pandemic paychecks and plethora of high-paying travel jobs, you aren’t alone. So, what gives? Why did the Travel Nursing Market drop and what will the Travel Nursing Market look like in 2024? This past 2023, the market shrunk by 30% through a combination of lower pay and less jobs overall. And in 2024, more shrinkage is expected.

Why did this happen?

1. The pandemic took travel nursing from underground indie band to mainstream pop, growing 6 times over in just a few years. Desperate hospitals plus FEMA funding meant incentives to become a traveler were through the roof. Nurses saw a way to finally get paid their worth and not have to attend mundane staff meetings anymore where they’re chastised for not taking their breaks as if they wanted to skip them. 

2. Once the FEMA funding dried up, hospitals were left to foot the bill entirely, and so the next move was kind of predictable: hospitals have been trying their best to bring rates back down to pre-pandemic levels and force more nurses back into staff jobs.

3. But here’s the thing: there is no pre-pandemic level! That era of nursing is gone. Things are more expensive now and nurses more fully realize their value to the hospital.

4. While the travel nursing market is expected to continue dropping though not as drastically (see below), nursing has fundamentally changed forever. Nurses across the country are striking their hospitals fighting for better pay and safer working conditions. 

5. But one thing hasn’t changed: Hospitals still rely on travel nurses to sustain themselves. The market will eventually correct itself, but as this plays out, remember, you might not need them, but they need you.

What does this mean?

  • The Market: For many years (even preceding 2016) the market remained unchanged…until the pandemic. We’re still in the midst of this turbulence. Expect more bumpiness.
  • Allied Health: Nearly tripled in size but also more enduring. It’s only about a third of the size of nursing, but with more stability.
  • Travel Nursing: This grew 6x from 2019 to 2022(!), but then contracted by about 30% just in this last year. Estimates are Travel Nursing will shrink another 5% in 2024.

While the models show that 2024 will be less volatile than 2023, it will continue to be much more competitive than in recent years. The overall volume of job openings has decreased with about the same amount of clinicians searching. 

Now What?

If you like your current contracts, consider renewing them (at least until we see how Q1 plays out). But if you do need a new contract, we’ve got your back. Although the pandemic rates are gone, that doesn’t mean there aren’t high-paying assignments anymore. Check out our job board or download our app to set job alerts for your dream contract.

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