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In a study facilitated by nursing professors Christine T. Kovner, Sean P. Corcoran and Carol S. Brewer, it was discovered that most registered nurses prefer staying local. In fact, 52.5 percent of responding nurses work within 40 miles of their high school. That, along with other data, are high enough to land nursing as the No. 2 least mobile occupation in America, second only to teachers. That’s great for hospitals in large markets.

Hospitals in large markets usually benefit from a feeder nursing school, often more than one, making them virtually impervious to the nation’s nursing shortage. But for small localities and rural areas, the shortage is tangible. According to the study:

 The low mobility of new registered nurses has important implications for nursing workforce policy. Healthcare employers must often rely heavily on locally trained RN’s who grew up and attended school in a limited geographic area. This may be of particular concern to employers in rural or other under-served areas, who have limited ability to attract additional registered nurses from elsewhere.

The inability to attract and retain good nursing talent is a problem a company like ours’ hears daily. But interestingly enough, with all the data collected during this survey, researchers were ultimately left unsure of why nurses are so immobile. The study openly acknowledges, “Data from our study show that new registered nurses are relatively immobile, both in an absolute sense and in comparison to other professional workers. The reasons for this immobility remain unclear.”

As stated numerous times, both on our site, and on any competitor’s, travel nursing, on average, pays more. The opportunity to explore parts of the country you’ve never seen is seldom more accessible, and the contracts are short and flexible. When you consider all the benefits from travel nursing, it’s make you wonder why more nurses aren’t opting for the road in lieu of the traditional RN trajectory.

So the study has its data and we have our experience – but what about you? What do you think about the data, and how do you feel about traveling? Feel free to respond in the comments below.