International Travel Nurses Can Help Reduce Nursing Shortages

With ongoing travel restrictions, people’s fear of migrating, and hospitals hitting an all-time high patient number — all because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are faced with a severe and urgent need to reduce nursing shortages. The situation calls for a need for international travel nurses.

Today, the nursing shortage is undeniably one of US healthcare’s most critical and sensitive issues. A burnt-out and retiring local workforce and the return of hospital services closed in 2019 are among some glaring reasons for heightening demand for nurses. In 2019, there was a documented 35 percent growth in international travel nurses in America. This growth even ballooned to an additional 40 percent in 2020. 

What many have thought to be “a seasonal shortage due to the chronic trend of too few experienced nurses in an area with an unexpected rise in patients due to a global pandemic” has actually been a problem going on for years now. According to a study by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), the shortage of local healthcare workers is expected to persist between 2016 and 2030

In America, the shortage of registered nurses (RN) stems from US nursing schools struggling to expand capacity to meet the steadily rising demand for health care. So, hospitals and staffing agencies have turned to hire nurses from outside the country.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), international nurses have become agents of economic change by entering the international labor market and participating in global wealth distribution. That economic change has enabled employers to provide sustainable and attractive pay and excellent working conditions to migrant workers, making working overseas more alluring. In the United States, in particular, international travel nurses play a vital role in its medical system. 

Contributing Factors Affecting Nursing Shortage

Here are some reasons why the shortage of nurses has been around for decades:

  • Low Local Nursing School Enrollment

Simply put, nursing school enrollment is not growing fast enough to meet the demand for RN and Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) services. This situation also negatively affects the need for more nurse faculty, researchers, and primary care providers. 

In the 2019-2020 Enrollment and Graduations in Baccalaureate and Graduate Programs in Nursing report, 80,407 qualified applicants from both baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs were turned down by US nursing schools. This is due to the lack of faculty members, clinical sites, classroom space, clinical preceptors, and budget. 

  • US Nursing Workforce Retirement

A significant percentage of the nursing workforce is nearing retirement age. The average age of RNs is 50 years old, according to a 2018 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses conducted by the Health Resources and Services Administration. This may mean that over the next 15 years, there will be a large wave of local nurses leaving the workforce.

  • Projected Rise on Need for Geriatric Care

The US Census Bureau reported that there will be approximately 82 million US residents aged 65 and above by 2030. This signals an increased need for geriatric care, including patients with chronic diseases and comorbidities. 

  • Nurses Quitting Due to Stress and Overall Job Dissatisfaction

The ripple effect of having insufficient nurses has raised the stress level of nurses. It has dramatically affected their job satisfaction. In the March 2005 issue of Nursing Economic$, it is reported that 75 percent of RNs believe the nursing shortage affects the quality of their work-life, the quality of patient care, and the amount of time they can spend with patients. Ultimately, 93 percent of the surveyed nurses expressed that they have considered leaving the profession due to the said factors. 

  • Turnover Rates

Year after year, the number of licensed RNs changing careers has increased. Add that to the number of retiring nurses, and we have a full-on shortage in our hands. 

How Can International Travel Nurses Help? 

International travel nurses bring their expertise with them across the country and throughout the globe. The supply and demand inequality has created the need to turn to travel nurses to fill clinical needs. International travel nurses are deemed problem-solvers and willing to give the much-needed healthcare whenever needed.

Here are some other advantages to hiring International Travel Nurses:

  • Competence

Nowadays, immigration regulations require all foreign-trained nurses to be licensed, experienced, and highly proficient. With the help of staffing agencies’ ability to pre-screen every applicant, it is guaranteed that travel nurses are qualified professionals.

  • Commitment

International travel nurses are primarily driven by job stability. Another driving force for them is the opportunity to pursue a significantly better quality of life and become a part of an American community.  

  • Personal and Professional Growth

International travel nurses seek to explore the world and learn the trade. Through transformative career opportunities, it is a proven fact that travel nurses are always looking to improve their skills and their experience. This helps healthcare organizations and hospitals to get only top-notch service. 

  • Increase in Overall Staff Morale

With the addition of more staff, the shared workload becomes easier to manage. On top of that, migrant nurses can build strong bonds with their teams, share experiences, and offer support.

  • Diversity

Overseas nurses help diversify a workforce that reflects on the community’s multicultural nature, your organization, and your patients. 

  • Patient Care Improvement

A satisfied and ample workforce is a productive and safe workforce. On the other hand, a workforce riddled with stress and dissatisfaction with their work lives is more prone to commit avoidable errors and provide subpar healthcare. 

Hire International Travel Nurses Today

It is never too late or too early to hire the much-needed talents you are missing. With how much international travel nurses have become such a vital part of the US medical system, they should also be integral to your recruitment strategy. 

Have the assurance that the rampant staffing shortage worldwide will not affect your healthcare organization, as contracts for international nurses span from 12 to 36 months per assignment. This will help you and your business assess and strategically plan for the coming fiscal years. Further, this guaranteed time frame gives you and your workforce ample time to acclimate to the good changes of hiring foreign-trained nurses, as well as a buffer for future recruitment needs.

Stabilizing your staffing requirements over time gives you the added benefit of providing consistent and high-quality care for your patients.


If you are looking for the best staffing agency to help you procure the best international travel nurses for your health care organization, PRS Global is here to help!

Through our premier global sourcing and placement of nursing staff, we at PRS Global are committed to creating the solution for the nurse staffing crisis threatening the US healthcare system. Our mission is to ensure that your health care organizations and hospitals are sufficiently staffed with highly trained, competent, committed, ethical, and compassionate registered nurses and advanced practice registered nurses. We are the bridge connecting American healthcare providers with qualified international travel nurses. 

We have a unique process of assisting your company to become proactive and innovative with staffing models as you meet your financial metrics. Your goals are our goals: reduce turnovers, eliminate agency utilization, provide consistent staffing, and improve quality measures. Grow your healthcare organization without the worry of staffing problems.


Get in touch with PRS Global, your trusted and competent staffing agency, today.