Over the last century, what started as an assignment of healthcare workers to facilities in need has become a career of choice for many healthcare professionals. During the American Frontier, thousands of Americans received healthcare from healthcare workers traveling across the country. Healthcare workers are in greater demand than ever before.
Many healthcare workers have chosen to join a medical staffing agency and travel and work at different facilities and hospitals on a 13 or 26-week contract. There are several reasons to be drawn to this profession, including higher pay and travel opportunities. Below is a synopsis of the history of healthcare travelers.
1850: American Frontier
Nurses and other healthcare professionals traveled throughout the Wild West to assist wounded and injured frontier families before healthcare travelers were even established. To ensure the health and wellness of these families and other patients, they would visit hundreds of different towns.
1860: American Civil War
During the American Civil War, healthcare professionals were assigned to different forts to help soldiers and their families recover from injuries sustained during the war. Clara Barton was known to visit several locations and treat soldiers on both sides. This gave people the idea that nurses and other healthcare workers could travel and work in different places.
Early 1900s: WWI
Technological advancements during WW1, such as mobile X-rays, required healthcare workers to travel to use the device. Towards the end of the war, the first veterans hospital was founded, and healthcare professionals were recruited from all over the country to help. The Veterans Administration (VA) was then established, and still to this day the VA uses healthcare travelers from different areas to give healthcare to American soldiers.
Late 1900s: Programs for healthcare travelers
The University of Utah saw the need to educate healthcare travelers. They created a program for them to build their skills and experience. This program allowed temporary workers to step in while those healthcare professionals continued their education. In 1979, the first medical staffing agency was founded, and the demand for healthcare workers across the country only increased.
Early 2000s: Affordable Care Act
In 2010, The Affordable Care Act was passed. This extended healthcare coverage for millions of Americans. The more people with health insurance, the more we see a need for traveling healthcare professionals. Fortunately, healthcare traveling grew and in 2020 we saw more than 14,000 new healthcare travelers.
Join our medical staffing agency
Healthcare traveling has evolved throughout the years, and the industry is still evolving because of technological advances and the number of nurses and other healthcare professionals interested in a traveling career. By the time 2025 rolls around, healthcare is expected to make up 20% of the U.S. workforce. If you’re interested in joining the growing profession of healthcare travelers, reach out to us today to see how you can get started!