Rachel Norton has been a critical care nurse for 14 years. She’s worked as a staff nurse at a hospital, as a flight nurse and, currently on an as-needed basis for a system in Denver. And every so often, she takes on travel nursing assignments, sometimes spending a month at a new hospital when there’s a need.
Norton’s flexible nursing career is one that’s become more common in the past year as staff nurses have taken lucrative travel nursing contracts, reduced their hours or left the workforce altogether from burnout or for early retirement. And nurses aren’t alone.
Across the healthcare industry, healthcare providers are clamoring for workers. Jobs numbers for the sector fell again in June, in a rollercoaster of peaks and dips over more than a year that has yet to fully recover from the massive losses early in the COVID-19 pandemic. And, while hospitals and other providers