The ROI of Travel Nursing: A Full-Cost Comparison of Core Staff Pay Rates to Travel Nurse Bill Rates

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY▸ The growth of travel nursing results from the dramatic expansion of health care demand that has occurred since the end of the recession, coupled with workforce preferences and shortages in virtually all healthcare fields.▸ Healthcare organizations need to accurately determine the cost of travel nurses in comparison to the full cost of core staff to achieve greater precision in budgeting and planning for their clinical workforce.▸ When full costs are included in the cost of core staff nurses, and when core staff overtime is used as the basis for comparison, the cost of travel nurses is often lower than the cost of core staff nurses in the hospital units examined in this study.▸ This result contradicts the prevailing assumptions that it is more expensive to contract for travel nurses than to utilize core staff nurses.

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