GHR Travel Nursing's Blog

The History of Travel Nursing

Mar 18, 2020 10:37:36 AM / by General Healthcare Resources

In 1978, hospitals in New Orleans were unable to keep up with the demand for care. A registered nurse stepped in to help handle the spike in demand caused by a large number of patients due to the Mardi Gras celebration. That’s how modern travel nursing was born. Every year the festival continues on the bayou and travel nursing is still going strong.

The 1980s

The shortage in New Orleans started a trend and when the nation was dealing with a critical nationwide nursing shortage in the 1980s, the travel nursing industry began a rapid expansion. More and more healthcare organizations began hiring temporary nurses and more agencies began to pop up to help place RNs who could fill in for short-term work assignments.


Another reason behind the expansion of the travel nursing industry is the need to meet seasonal demand in parts of the country that attract large numbers of travelers and retirees. During the cold winter months, locations such as Florida and Arizona are booming with tourists and retirees looking to escape harsh weather. This opens the door for travel nursing agencies to fill the gap.

The Digital Age

As the clock ticked and shortages continued, travel nursing was soon an alternative for RNs looking for another career option. The explosive growth of the internet and mobile technology undoubtedly contributed to this growth. The growing technology makes life easier for nurses who can move around the country and still maintain contact with their home base. Additionally, technology is making it easy for nurses to find travel nursing jobs while connecting with the industry.

The Demand Continues

As the population ages and the average life expectancy lengthens, the demand for travel nursing continues. Shifting demographics are making travel nursing professionals more in need than ever before. The Affordable Care Act and the millions of people who now have access to health insurance is causing the demand for nurses to be higher than ever before. With regular shortages, the need for travel nurses is skyrocketing.

The Future

Travel nursing opportunities are showing no signs of slowing down. The shortages facing healthcare organizations today are no different than what those in the 1970s had to endure. It would not be shocking if healthcare facilities begin to rely more significantly on the services of travel nurses to fill the shortages.

If you are an existing or a potential travel nurse, consider the travel opportunities available at GHR Travel Nursing today. GHR Travel Nursing maintains connections with healthcare facilities throughout the country to allow you to enhance your nursing career.

Topics: History