The National Association of Travel Healthcare Organizations (NATHO) recently commissioned a custom research report from SIA. This report analyzed the US travel nurse market between 2018 and 2022, finding that while the travel nursing sector had experienced rapid growth over the last five years due to a chronic nursing shortage exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the market is now becoming saturated.

The SIA research revealed that in 2022, travel nurse pay rate accounted for the largest proportion of the bill rate, at 52.3%. This percentage was a significant increase from 40.0% in 2018. Further, gross margin — the difference between the bill rate to clients and the direct costs paid for nurse wages, housing, meals, and other direct costs — decreased from 26.1% in 2018 to 23.3% in 2022.

The need for travel nurses was also further increased by the severity of the pandemic, leading to the total supply of RNs decreasing by more than 100,000 between 2020 and 2021. This played a part in SIA’s projection that the market would increase from $5.6 billion in 2018 to $42.0 billion in 2022, with the average number of travel RNs on assignment increasing 39% from 119