October is a crucial month for the travel healthcare staffing industry as a whole. For staffing agencies, it marks the beginning of the busiest month of the year as healthcare providers recruit temporary staff at breakneck speeds. For healthcare providers, October is the final push to find as many quality temporary workers as possible to help carry operations through at least February.
As a result, the last two weeks of September ramped up sharply in job board activity leading into October, mostly affecting states that are popular destinations for snowbird travelers who head for warm weather locations like Florida, Arizona and California.
The record-breaking impact of Hurricane Florence also provided an unexpected boon for travel nurse needs in North Carolina, as hospitals located away from the coastline needed help dealing with the increased patient census due to hurricane evacuees.
Travel healthcare jobs October 2018
In short, we expect the travel healthcare market and job board activity to remain red-hot throughout most of October, with the potential for a slight dip at the end of the month as less new needs hit the market.
Most of the market activity is expected to be driven by core specialties—for travel nurses, this means a high number of medical-surgical, telemetry and ICU will be available. We are also starting to see a noticeable increase in OR job needs in the market, which is part of the expected year-end rush for scheduled elective surgeries.
While most of the hospitals near the North Carolina coast have reopened in the weeks following Hurricane Florence, there is still a heavy demand for travel nurses in Charlotte and Wilmington, according to staffing agency sources.
States that were popular in September will continue to remain popular this month, including California, Arizona, Florida, Missouri, Tennessee and parts of Texas. This is a result of the regular “snowbird” traveler migration and because most of those locations—excluding California—are often the first places affected by high levels of flu activity early in the season.
At the same time, northern states will also see an increase in job needs as they will look to fill vacancies left by snowbird travelers. Some of those areas include Michigan, Wisconsin, Oregon, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Maine.
Hospitals in northern states will also typically increase bill rates for travel contracts during this time to entice recruiters to submit quality candidates who will stay through the winter, which can translate into higher pay packages depending on what agencies travelers use. This mostly applies to the coldest areas like Michigan, Wisconsin and Maine, and not so much for winter tourist destinations like Colorado or Utah.
Core specialties are expected to be the most in-demand. For travel nurses, this means medical-surgical, telemetry, and ICU. We also expect to see an increasing amount of OR job needs, as more elective surgeries take place during the end of the year.
Let’s take a closer look at what we learned from the StaffDNA job board about where travelers applied in September.
Michigan, Missouri enter the Top 10
Michigan jumped eight ranks from August to September, moving from No. 17 to No. 9. Missouri made a smaller climb of three ranks to take the No. 3 spot.
We may see both states retain their top 10 status as winter approaches. Of the two, Missouri is most likely to drop in total traveler applications in October. The late-August hiring surge in St. Louis may have been a factor in the increase of applications for September, but we expect it to at least hang around the top 20 states for October.
September’s Top Markets
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
- New Mexico
- New Jersey
- New Hampshire
- New York
- Washington D.C.
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
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