It’s no secret that the nursing shortage is causing a crisis in the healthcare industry. This problem poses a significant threat to the oncology field. Cancer is one of the most prevalent diseases in the U.S. and those numbers continue to rise. It’s projected that 1 in every 3 men and 1 in every 2 women will develop cancer in their lifetime. This means there will be an increased need for care from teams familiar with their specific needs.
This can be felt in the many fields of oncology, from hospitals and outpatient care to hospice. All of these facilities are in dire need of help. Luckily, travel nurses can help absorb some of this strain. This article will look at how travel nurses can play a role in the solution to the nursing shortage, specifically across the oncology field.
Provide Aid to Larger Hospitals
It is reported that over 11 million nurses are needed to saturate the need fully. This kind of absence makes it almost impossible for hospital staff to get things done. The results of this shortage can be dire. More mistakes are made when nurses are given more work than they can handle, which contributes to higher morbidity rates. Some states have tried to combat this phenomenon by enforcing laws that limit the nurse-to-patient ratio.
Travel nurses help to prevent some of these issues from arising by relieving some of that pressure before it reaches a boiling point. Because they’re expected to be able to quickly adapt to their work environment, travel nurses can easily learn how almost any site functions, which helps to reduce training time and the number of mistakes that happen during a transition period.
Relieve Stress for Permanent Staff
Nurses who have permanent jobs at hospitals are feeling pressure to pick up the slack created by missing coworkers. The added strain leaves nurses feeling burnt out, underappreciated, and unfulfilled in their roles. They often end up quitting their jobs or leaving the profession altogether, further contributing to the nursing shortage plaguing the country and creating a never-ending cycle.
Oncology travel nurses provide a necessary support system that allows the permanent nursing staff to focus on their jobs fully and to give their full effort to their tasks. Especially during seasonal highs when facilities experience an influx of patients coming in for different ailments. Travel nurses can help to redistribute that workload and help hospitals comply with nurse-to-patient regulations.
They also offer an opportunity for solidarity and friendship that may not otherwise have been possible. After all, having someone new enter your workplace can give new insight to current stressors. You might find that things you were worried about are smaller than you think, or that you have someone to back up your case in times of need. This helps the permanent staff feel more optimistic about coming to work.
Specialize In Specific Care
Hospitals and general health clinics often have trouble finding specialized nurses who are well-versed in caring for specific diseases. This can be a disadvantage for patients battling these illnesses as it could mean they’re receiving a lower quality of care, potentially leading to mistakes and poor outcomes.
This is especially true for patients who are living with aggressive cancers. Certain rare cancers, such as mesothelioma, can be extremely difficult to treat. Those who have successful treatments may be prescribed maintenance chemotherapy to prolong the positive outcomes from previous treatments. Oncology nurses will likely have experience administering these treatments. They can also provide insights to primary care physicians on when it may be a good time to stop mesothelioma treatments altogether.
Similarly, pancreatic cancer is notoriously difficult to treat. Oncology nurses can play a vital role for patients as doctors and their staff develop their treatment plans and can help them find solutions that give them the best chance for success.
Oncology travel nurses provide a unique opportunity to provide expertise in a specific area of care that general healthcare professionals may lack. Cancer treatments require different knowledge sets. They can assist nurses who may not be familiar with certain procedures or side effects and prepare them to work with these patients in the future.
Provide Exceptional Care for Patients
Due to their expertise, travel nurses can provide superb service to cancer patients. They can provide valuable insights to patients and their families about upcoming treatments, possible side effects of those treatments, and other aspects of battling this life-threatening disease that one would only know through experience.
These patients often see their nurses more often than their primary doctors, so it’s crucial that they feel connected to their nurses and feel like they can trust them. A nurse skilled at treating the disease they’re battling and genuinely invested in their well-being improves patient satisfaction.
Make a Significant Change
The dependence on travel nurses will continue to grow as the nursing shortage continues to plague the industry. Those specializing in oncology will be filling a great need and supporting hospitals and patients.
If you are a travel nurse interested in an oncology role, start your hunt by browsing travel open jobs now. Even though there is a shortage of nurses, specialized roles, such as oncology nurse, can be harder to come by, so starting your search now will only increase your chances of landing a job that fits you.
If you haven’t done travel nursing before but are interested in becoming one, you can learn all about travel nursing in our resource section!