Rethinking Agency Nurses
Although only about 65% of the U.S. population is white, non-Hispanic, about 83% of RNs are white, non-Hispanic. The demographics of agency nurses more closely resemble that of the United States.
Then there's the fact that agency nurses are willing to travel, and as a result are more likely to hold nursing licenses in several states simultaneously. The research also found that during the period surveyed, between 4.4% and 13.7% of supplemental nurses worked in states in which they didn't reside, compared with 2.6% to 4.5% of permanent nurses.
In a perfect world, nurses would all hold at least a bachelor's degree or higher. They'd get paid tons of money, never be asked to work overtime, never get sleepy or burned out, and never get slapped around by patients or disrespected by doctors.
I'm not saying that agency nurses are the perfect solution. But if a nursing shortage is on the horizon, at least this study can reassure leaders that when it comes to education and experience, agency nurses are holding their own.
Alexandra Wilson Pecci is a managing editor for HealthLeaders Media.
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