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Sept/Oct 2008 Traveler Times
In an effort to keep career nurses in the workforce, more travel nursing agencies are catering to late-career RN’s -- also known as “Baby Boomer” nurses. Travel nursing benefits like flexible schedules, education incentives, retirement plans and three day work weeks are particularly attractive to these valuable members of the profession.
With America’s nurse shortage becoming more critical, accommodating seasoned practitioners is vital. Fewer nurses are entering the profession than exiting, and travel nursing is attractive choice both for Baby Boomer nurses who wish to continue working, and for healthcare providers in need of their expertise.
“Travel nursing careers promote a healthy, stable alternative to leaving the profession,” says Clinical Coordination Manager, Deborah B. R.N., who points to surveys published by the Urban Institute. These studies suggest that Baby Boomer travel nurses are willing and able to work through their 50s and 60s, as long as employers are willing to furnish health and retirement benefits and a platform for professional development.
Nurses are traveling more now than ever, with travelers age 40 and older increasing ten percent in the last decade. The number of working travel nurses 55 years and older has doubled since the year 2000. They now make up nearly 10 percent of the traveling nurse workforce.
“Travel nurse jobs provide the work-life balance mentor nurses need to keep working,” said Robert Bok, CEO for American Traveler. “This aids the industry in reducing the loss of critical knowledge and intellectual capital needed to train new nurses and impart quality patient care.”
America’s nurse population age 55 and older is projected to grow by almost 20 percent over the next ten years. By 2020, more than 40 percent of America’s nurse workforce will be over 50 years old, at which point many RN’s are expected to retire and withdraw from the profession.
Full-time travel therapist, Terry, age 58, says he has no intention of retiring early. The Certified Clinical Instructor and his wife, a travel nurse, have both been employed by American Traveler for a number of years and state that healthcare travel has provided them with a quality of life that is unsurpassed by previous professions. "I like being a part of healing others, I love people, I love teaching and I love what I do," said Terry.