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Med-Surge Travel Nurses are in Highest Demand

Analysis  |  By Carol Davis  
   June 06, 2023

Texas leads the list of states with the most travel nurse jobs.

The most in-demand travel nurse specialties are in med-surge, emergency department, and step-down, says a new report that looks at current travel-nurse trends.

The Q1 2023 Jobs Report by Nomad Health, a digital marketplace for healthcare staffing, looks at the most in-demand travel nursing specialties based on the company’s own job data collected January 1, 2023-March 31, 2023, from more than 80,000 users, according to the report.

The report also reveals which states have the most travel nurse jobs, as well as which states travel nurses want to work in the most, based on their search behavior.

“This supply-and-demand data for travel nurse jobs is meant to help facilities, government bodies, and reporting bodies understand the latest employment trends in travel nursing and the impact it has on nurse staffing supply and demand,” according to the report.

Med-surge topped the list of the most in-demand travel nursing specialties—not surprising because med-surge is the top specialty in the United States, according to the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses.

These are the travel nurse specialties most in demand by healthcare facilities during Q1 2023, according to the report:

  1. Med-surg: 17% of jobs
  2. Emergency department: 8% of jobs
  3. Step-down: 7% of jobs
  4. Med-surg/telemetry: 6% of jobs
  5. Medical ICU: 5% of jobs
  6. Telemetry: 5% of jobs
  7. Operating room: 5% of jobs
  8. Labor and delivery: 2% of jobs
  9. Rehabilitation: 2% of jobs
  10. Psychiatry: 2% of jobs


Texas led the list for top states for travel nurse jobs, with 7% of jobs, most likely for two reasons, the report says. Texas is a large, rapidly growing state, but it also is a “compact state,” which allows travel nurses to obtain a multi-state license, speeding up the credentialing and employment process for travel nurses.

California and New York both came in second with 6% of jobs; Florida followed at third with 5% of jobs; Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and North Carolina tied for fourth with 4% of jobs; and Maryland rated fifth with 3% of jobs.

Nomad also looked at where travel nurses most wanted to work, based on states that they searched most.

“In this list, we noticed common factors that make these states appealing for travel nurses including an ample supply of jobs, low cost of living, and high quality of life,” the report says.

California and Florida were the most popular, both with 6% of queries, followed by Texas with 5%; New York, North Carolina, and Georgia each received 4%; and Arizona, Colorado, Virginia, and Massachusetts each received 3%.

Carol Davis is the Nursing Editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.


Med-surge is the top nursing specialty in the United States.

Texas offers the most travel nurse jobs, partly because it is a compact state.

Travel nurses most want to work in California and Florida.

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