Shift Nurses Post-Pandemic

The Need for Shift Nurses Post-Pandemic

In the post-pandemic healthcare landscape, shift nurses will play a critical role. Day and night shift nurses will continue to help hospitals meet demands and assist doctors with tests and necessary medical procedures.


The Need for Shift Nurses Post-Pandemic

While the COVID-19 pandemic showed the public and healthcare administrators how essential nurses are, the United States is now presented with a growing shortage of nurses. According to Nurse Journal, it is anticipated that 1.1 million nurses will be needed in the US by the end of 2022 to replace those retiring or leaving the profession.

In the post-pandemic healthcare landscape, shift nurses will play a critical role. Day and night shift nurses will continue to help hospitals meet demands and assist doctors with tests and necessary medical procedures. In addition, when regularly employed nurses take a leave of absence or vacation, shift nurses can quickly fill in the service gap and help maintain critical hospital operations.

Demand is Growing for Qualified Nurses

The American Nurses Association (ANA) has projected that throughout 2022 there will be more employment openings in nursing than in any other profession. In the years leading up to 2030, the US can anticipate a 9% job growth rate for registered nurses (RNs).

The high demand will be great news for new graduates from nursing programs or those looking to re-enter the field. In addition, qualified nurses willing to relocate to areas of high need for temporary shift nursing contracts can expect to make a superior weekly pay rate. In high-demand areas throughout the US, the weekly contract rate has nearly doubled, with some shift nurses earning up to $6,000/week.

While contract travel nursing isn't for everyone, it can be a game-changer for qualified nurses and allied health professionals with flexibility and an adventurous outlook. In addition to exploring the workplace environment at different hospitals and developing in-demand skills, contract employees also have the opportunity to travel and explore parts of the country they've dreamed of visiting. If Alaska, California, New Jersey, South Carolina, or Texas sound appealing, you're in luck! The US Department of Health and Human Services estimates that these states (and many others with rapidly aging populations) will experience the most severe nursing shortages. So, while contract shift nurse positions will likely be available throughout the country, these five states will offer the most significant number of opportunities.

The Expectations Associated with Shift Nursing

While the compensation rates for contract shift nurses are attention-grabbing, evaluating the entire employment package is essential. Jennifer Schlette, MSN, RN of Nursing Process, offers some valuable insights for nursing professionals looking to take advantage of night shift work opportunities in their current location or as part of a travel nursing contract.

Because nursing care needs to be available 24/7/365, shift nurses are typically assigned to either 12-hour day shifts or 12-hour night shifts. Shift nurses are necessary for nearly all healthcare settings, including hospitals, long-term care, and rehabilitation facilities, and via telehealth for private practices and outpatient clinics. In addition to taking care of patients, they also have administrative tasks such as documenting medical information, the patient's care, and health status. Explicit duties will vary depending on the location (urban/rural/suburban), healthcare setting or nurse's specialty, and shift, but typically shift nurses can expect to have some engagement with families, doctors, other care team members, and management. Excellent communication skills, the ability to follow care protocols, and active problem-solving skills are required for success regardless of where and when the work takes place.

Looking to Enter the Field? Now is the Time!

Whether you're a hospital administrator, doctor, family member, or patient, everyone in the healthcare system understands that the quality of care declines when nurse staffing levels decline. For qualified RNs and allied health professionals, there is no better time than the present to put skills and knowledge to use to help keep America healthy. You are needed and welcome!


Post-Pandemic Nursing Shortage: What It Means for Aspiring Nurses

©American Nurses Association (ANA)

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Aaron Smith is an LA-based content strategist and consultant in support of STEM firms and medical practices. He covers industry developments and helps companies connect with clients. In his free time, Aaron enjoys swimming, swing dancing, and sci-fi novels.

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Specializes in Wound care; CMSRN. Has 8 years experience.

I could tell he wasn't an RN right off the bat. Basically what he's describing is Gig work for nurses; like Uber or Lyft or pizza delivery. As far as these guys are concerned, we're all interchangeable; indistinguishable cogs in a corporate machine. Comparing eager "new grads" and retirees as alternatives to working nurses in the field in their vastly different skill areas pretty much say it all. He has no clue.
Nursing is screwed. Half the nurses with any time in have either already booked or will as soon as they can. That means large medical operations (for profit hospitals etc, and non profits too) are going to be screwed by lack of competent help. Doctors are going to be screwed. How many have you met that could start an IV let alone hang one? I'm sure they're out there but I have yet to meet one. "Helping" doctors? We're their go---- eyes and ears on the floor. We're the ones that keep the interns from killing the patients (not that they appreciate it). What a sick joke.
Beyond that, who's teaching all these New Grads who are going to magically appear to save the CEOs from starvation? There are very few instructors to hire for lots of reasons including MONEY which the corporate colleges seem to be really short on in spite of astronomical tuition? Give me a break.

Has 8 years experience.
28 minutes ago, mtmkjr said:

"shift nurses'?

🤣🤣🤣  That's what I kept wondering!

To me, it sounds like this is in reference to "travel" or "contract" nursing... and it reads a lot like a hokey sales pitch.

Don't get me wrong - I love our travellers (where would we be without them?!)... but 80% of our original unit staff have also left for travel nursing... so it's starting to feel a lot like hospitals are just endlessly replacing bandaids instead of suturing their wounds. 

It leaves those who remain with all the responsibility and pressure to fill roles they never wanted, creating dissatisfaction... which inevitably forces them out, thus perpetuating the cycle of bandaids.

Specializes in Wound care; CMSRN. Has 8 years experience.

Well put. For some reason I've become increasingly unable to keep a civil tongue in my head in the face of this kind of naked ignorance/avarice/opportunism at the expense of people who've been giving their all for the last few years. 

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I gave my all. Then I left because my all was NOT appreciated. I’m one of many. Nursing salaries have been stagnant for years. Covid was a huge wake up call. They’re paying travelers but they are desperately hoping it’s temporary. It’s not. Time to pay the piper…to pay nurses what they really deserve, to treat them with respect, to staff adequately so they can do their jobs, to allow their input on the units (not just pay lip service). I for one don’t believe it’s going to happen.

They’re raising salaries for floor nurses, but it’s a little late. The dissatisfaction seeped in a long time ago and Covid bared their incredible lack of care and concern for nurses for all to see. 

Where I work, doctors were given around $15,000 to $20,000 at the end of the year as a bonus (as far as I know). Nurse practitioners received a fraction of that. I received a $50 gift card, a percentage of which went to taxes. 


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Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis. Has 26 years experience.

I am sorry; too little way too late. To turn the tide takes more than words. It takes ACTION. On the parts of nurses to band together and the parts of powers-that-be to put the money on the table.

Specializes in Wound care; CMSRN. Has 8 years experience.

The action that needs to be taken is to get "profit" out of "healthcare", and I'm not talking about wages for time spent.
You can call it private enterprise or capitalism or whatever you want, but any part of the system that simply exists to extract wealth from the process without actively enhancing its function is a drag on that system. This includes insurance, excess administrative cost, pharmaceutical cost, excess disposables cost, interest on financing, dividends to "share holders" etc etc.
I don't know what the answer is but I do know that ownership of the industry needs to change radically because it is sure as shi* in the process of dying; bled to death by it's "owners" and operators who are NOT US.

kbrn2002, ADN, RN

3,750 Posts

Specializes in Geriatrics, Dialysis. Has 21 years experience.

What the heck is a "shift nurse?" Sounds like your basic traveler from reading this thinly veiled advertisement disguised as an article.  Whatever company it is that hired this guy to write their article should rethink their choice. It's painfully obvious this person is not now nor has he ever been in healthcare in any capacity. According  to the short bio this is in part his job description: "He covers industry developments and helps companies connect with clients. " I'd say he missed the mark  in trying to help whatever company hired him to connect with nurses, LOL

Specializes in Psychiatric, hospice, rehab. Has 47 years experience.

What a ridiculous article obviously NOT written by a nurse! I don't understand if the purpose of the article was to entice people to enter nursing or to encourage nurses that they have got it made-LOL. What the heck is a "shift nurse" anyway?


2,516 Posts

Specializes in oncology. Has 46 years experience.

The author wrote another article on a dental site. He is just trying to establish his PR company (and a bad one at that). 

Specializes in Education. Has 33 years experience.

$6000 per week, Is that so?