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'we had to get creative': chi health creates travel program to fill staffing shortage.

CHI Health taking money to pay outside agencies and giving to internal traveling nurses

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CHI Health calls it the Midwest Internal Travel Program.

"We can give opportunities to nurses and health care workers who want to go travel. They can do it but remain an employee with us," said vice president of patient care Tim Plante.

He said the much-needed traveling nurses were breaking the budget.

In February 2022, CHI Health spent $8 million on travel nurses. Compare that number to the average monthly cost prior to the pandemic of $1.8 million.

"This model is not sustainable so we had to get creative and give our own workers seeking that travel lifestyle an opportunity," Plante said. "But to do it with the benefit of working for a company they know and trust."

"I get the question of, 'Why Nebraska?'" CT technician Benae Ingram said.

CHI Health hired Ingram, from Atlanta last fall. She decided to stay put and join the program as a full-time employee.

"The pay is good...they've gotten rid of the middle man, the agency," Ingram said. "They are paying me as well as if I'm working for those agencies, so that's a plus."

Registered nurse Mikalia Abrahamson has worked for CHI Health in Omaha for more than a decade. Now she's open to moving around to one of the 28 hospitals in four states — Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota — to fill the need. She's currently working at Saint Elizabeth's in Lincoln.

"We are flexible...that's what we sign up for, that's what we are here for and that's what we want to do," she said.

The hospital system wants to build its internal pool of traveling nurses to about 100.

There are half that many now in the program.

CHI Health introduces new travel program for health care workers

LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Health care facilities across the nation have struggled with staffing throughout the pandemic.

CHI Health is taking that problem into their own hands with a new program. It’s called the Midwest Internal Travel Program, and cuts out the traveling agency while keeping health care workers in the CHI system.

CHI said this last February, they spent more than $8 million on traveling nurses. Before the pandemic, they were spending $1.8 million.

It’s due to staffing shortages seen across the nation and hospitals relying on traveling agencies to fill the gaps.

CHI said they had the program on a smaller scale for years, and are now expanding it to nurses and other health care workers.

Travelers are full-time employees through CHI, and receive benefits as well as a traveler stipend.

“It has given me an opportunity to do stuff you wouldn’t be able to do in a normal even just travel position plus staying with the organization,” said traveling RN, Kate Syzmanski. “So I have my years behind me, I have my experience.”

The program allows travelers to work at CHI’s 28 hospitals for six to 12 weeks.

CHI said it’s a win-win as the program gives travelers opportunities, while keeping them in the system and saving the hospital money.

CHI said they hope to have a pool of 100 traveling employees for nursing, pharmacy, technicians and more. They are taking applications from those already employed by CHI as well as outside of the system.

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CHI Health describes new Midwest internal travel staffing program in press conference

Newly Proposed Bill Would Forgive Healthcare Workers’ Student Loans

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — CHI Health professionals answered questions Tuesday afternoon on the new CHI Health Midwest Internal Travel Program during a live Zoom press conference.

The program allows full-time healthcare professionals to travel within the 28 locations of CHI Health's network on 6-12 week assignments to address staffing shortages and fill workforce gaps.

Watch below or on the 3 News Now Facebook page.

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3 health systems making a bet on internal travel programs

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. hospitals and health systems have been tasked with addressing exacerbated clinician shortages. Many organizations turned to third-party staffing agencies and travelers to fill workforce gaps. Now some health systems are addressing their need for skilled clinicians through internal travel programs. 

Health systems with internal travel programs said they view the initiatives as an effective strategy and an opportunity to tackle staffing issues in house rather than through an outside agency.

"We need to make sure we have staffing available now, not just for COVID and ICU units but across the spectrum," E.J. Kuiper, CEO of Omaha, Neb.-based CHI Health, told   Becker's  in February. "Building out an internal [staffing program] makes sense on a number of different levels."

Here, Becker's dives deeper into the trend, including how internal travel programs are progressing and the details involved.  

Christus Health 

At Irving, Texas-based Christus Health, discussions about an internal travel program had been ongoing for years but came to the forefront during the pandemic. Texas used federal money during the pandemic to pay temporary healthcare workers. 

Christus saw an opportunity once the state began demobilizing temporary workers, according to Debi Pasley, MSN, RN, senior vice president and chief nurse executive for the Catholic, nonprofit organization, which has about 45,000 employees internationally.

"They had been provided to us for a period of time … and we said, 'Why would we want them to get away, especially those who seem consistent with our mission?'" Ms. Pasley said.  

Christus offered the program to temporary nurses who were slated to leave the health system, especially those in South Texas. Initially, about 96 nurses accepted the offer to stay with Christus, where they had been placed by the state. Of those 96 workers, some have left the program because they no longer want to travel, but others joined the program later, Ms. Pasley said. Christus anticipated that the total number of nurses and other workers, such as respiratory therapists, in its program will soon exceed 100.

"We're about to go over 100 in the number of people, and these are largely people who live close to some of our ministries," Ms. Pasley said. "So we believe we'll be able to maintain them over a longer period of time." 

Workers in the Christus program typically take 12-week assignments, though the assignments can be modified based on the needs of travel nurses and facilities. The health system pays the workers' travel fees, and those in the program have access to Christus benefits.   

Workers in the Christus program are paid an amount similar to what a person traveling for an external agency would receive, Ms. Pasley said.

"For the nurse, they don't get an advantage for going with an external agency, especially if they're already oriented and working with us," she said. "Our goal is to make the nurse whole. If they're willing to travel and be away from home, we want to make them whole if they do it for us versus for an external agency."

The pandemic has highlighted the gap between full-time workers' pay and lucrative temporary contracts. 

During the pandemic, hospitals and health systems have offered bonuses, increased wages and  made other investments  in employee retention for their staff workers. Still, the compensation gap between hospital-employed nurses and travel or agency nurses has continued.

As the amount external agencies are paying decreases, pay will fluctuate for those in the Christus internal program, Ms. Pasley said. 

Outside of pay, she said Christus offers workers in its internal program flexibility with scheduling.

"We have some people who adjust their schedules with their leader so they can have a better lifestyle," Ms. Pasley said. "We try to meet the needs of every clinician who comes to us, but we understand that's not always the case with our colleagues, our competitors, or they may not be able to have that flexibility. We're able to have a relationship with our traveling nurses such that it's more of a give and take."

Pittsburgh-based UPMC launched an internal travel program for its 40-hospital system in December.

John Galley, chief human resource officer at UPMC, told Becker's in January that the health system started the initiative not only to combat the nursing shortage — and attract nurses the health system has lost to outside travel agencies — but to address increased rates from outside travel agencies. 

Nurses and surgical techs who qualify for UPMC's program will earn $85 an hour and $63 an hour, respectively, in addition to a $2,880 stipend at the beginning of each six-week assignment.

Compensation for travel nurses at UPMC is still higher than full-time employees because the job comes with its own set of challenges. While full-time nurses get to know their facilities and have a more regular schedule, travel nurses are constantly on the move.

"They're going to have assignments for a few weeks at a time at a particular location, then we're going to pick them up and move them somewhere else, so they're going to be constantly traveling, living out of a suitcase, and that's what external travelers do, so we want to be just like the market, create roles like that and pay like that," Mr. Galley said. "I think our employees understand the difference between that kind of a lifestyle that goes along with the higher salary."

In a statement shared with Becker's on April 19, UPMC Chief Nurse Executive Holly Lorenz, DNP, RN, said the health system has brought 207 nurses into its travel program since the beginning of the year.

"We are delighted to see so many nurses joining our team who are new to UPMC, and we're especially thrilled to welcome back many nurses who left our team to work for external travel staff agencies and have rejoined us," Dr. Lorenz said. 

More recently, Omaha, Neb.-based CHI Health, part of Chicago-based CommonSpirit Health, launched an internal travel program in April for skilled clinicians in Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota and North Dakota.

The CHI Health Midwest Internal Travel Program allows nurses, technicians, pharmacists and other workers to be full-time CHI Health employees, receiving full-time pay, a traveler rate, a stipend, vacation hours, insurance and a 401(k), the health system said.

Under the program, workers would travel within CHI Health's 28 hospitals with six- to 12-week assignments, based on where the need is greatest.

Timothy Plante, division vice president of patient care at CHI Health, said the program involves one level for people who prefer to work solely in hospitals in Nebraska and southwest Iowa and another for people willing to work at CHI Health hospitals in Minnesota and North Dakota, according to the  Lincoln Journal Star .

He also said CHI Health can provide staff travel nurses the same pay they would get from an agency but without having to pay staffing agency fees, according to the newspaper.

As of April 20, CHI Health estimated more than 50 workers were in the program and about 60 others were in the application process. 

Long-term strategy

With CHI Health and other health systems creating internal travel programs, Ms. Pasley, of Christus, said the trend is here to stay. She said the reason is many organizations have a need for increased flexibility to meet the shortage of clinical professionals.

"I believe strategies like this will become commonplace … until we can boost the number of clinicians we need to care for our communities," Ms. Pasley said.

She also said Christus views its internal program as a long-term strategy. 

"We know that at some point — it may not be in the next 10 years, or it might be — but at some point we may not need the number of people traveling that we do today because numbers improve," she said. "At that point, we believe we can still maintain people on this [internal travel] team, maybe not at the same rates, but at a differential that would pay them for remaining flexible. We have hurricanes, too. We have to move nurses into areas where hurricanes hit or other natural disasters. We have a fair amount of experience with that, and we see that these are the people we could mobilize … I don't foresee dissolving [the program] in the foreseeable future." 

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Lincoln & Hastings-Krny KOLN

CHI Health program aims to lessen impact of nurse shortage

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Everything from long days to pay and workload has been blamed for the shortage of nurses nationally.

Rebecca Love is chief clinical officer at IntelyCare, a platform for healthcare workers. She said a financially attractive option for nurses is to work as travel nurses.

“They can make twice to three times the amount of any given salary in any given place for that travel assignment, allowing them 13 weeks of assignments of travel, time to go on vacation,” Love said.

She said hospitals looking to keep nurses on board are going to have to compete with that. That means shelling out higher pay.

“If you’re coming in under $80,000, $90,000 a year as a salary per nurse, you’re not even competing with national level starting salaries on the East Coast.”

CHI Health is aiming at just that with its Midwest Internal Travel Program.

Staffing operations market manager Bo Vanis said it’s been active for around five years.

“We really decided to grow it during the pandemic when we were utilizing a lot of travel staff,” Vanis said.

He said nurses who are part of it can be “floated” to work at any of CHI’s 30 facilities in Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota and North Dakota.

On top of their regular hourly pay, they receive a 50 percent hourly differential. By that math, someone being paid on the “low” end of $33.50 per hour would be making more than $90,000 a year.

CHI said it’s getting something out of it, too.

“If we’re able to have this internal pool, we don’t have to continually have to pay for orientation.”

While they’re still required to work 12-hour shifts, it’s three days a week.

Vanis said the benefit of these nurses traveling also gives them a change of scenery, helping keep some of the burnout at bay.

“Burnout is ultimately sometimes tied to that rut that you get—that routine that continues,” he said. “They’re still able to meet new people and they’re able to experience new facilities and new leadership styles across our system.”

He also said he’s on the verge of expanding the program into Arizona and Nevada.

It may not address all of the reasons why nurses are leaving the workforce, but it checks some of the boxes.

To learn more about the Midwest Internal Travel Program, send an email to [email protected]

Nurses who are part of the program can be “floated” to work at any of CHI’s 30 facilities in Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota and North Dakota.

Nurse.org

These Hospitals Offer Internal, Direct-Hire, Travel Nurse Programs (List)

  • List of Hospitals Offering Internal Travel Nurse Programs

Who Qualifies for Internal Travel Nurse Jobs?

  • Internal vs. External Travel Nurses

These Hospitals Offer Internal, Direct-Hire, Travel Nurse Programs (List)

In an effort to combat some of the staff nursing exoduses to travel positions, more and more hospitals across the nation are offering internal travel nurse programs. Like traditional travel nursing contracts through staffing agencies, these internal travel nurse programs offer short-term contracts, high pay, and sometimes, limited benefits. 

Designed to attract healthcare professionals to hard-to-fill areas and offer the same high pay as travel nurse jobs, hospitals hope that they will be able to retain local staff and ultimately lower the costs they will be forced to pay to travel nurse agencies. For instance, Bronson Healthcare in Kalamazoo, MI, recently announced the launch of its internal travel contract program for both nurses and other healthcare clinicians. 

>> Click here to see available high-paying travel nurse opportunities!

"These positions are enticing for anyone who is interested in a higher base pay, while foregoing many traditional health and wellness benefits — perhaps nurses who are still eligible for health insurance under their parents or guardians, or those who already have coverage through a spouse's employer," Denise Neely, BSN, senior vice president and COO for Kalamazoo, Mich.-based Bronson Methodist Hospital and chief nursing officer for Bronson Healthcare, stated in a news release. 

In late 2021, UPMC also started an internal travel nursing program - launching with over 800 open positions.  

Large hospitals systems are beginning to launch travel nurse program across multiple states and large geographical areas. For instance, 

  • Mercy Health System a system across four states (more than 40 hospitals and more than 40,000 co-workers) piloted their program in Springfield, Missouri, and now it has expanded across their four-state footprint. 
  • Advent Health the internal travel nurse program is offered in their hospitals in all states: Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Texas, Wisconsin
  • UC Health Colorado, traveling nurse program is across all UCHealth hospitals. That includes hospitals in all regions in northern Colorado, southern Colorado and in the Denver Metro area.
  • OSF HealthCare has 14 hospitals in the state of Illinois all w/ internal travel nurse programs

There are lots of lists floating around on social media of hospitals that might (or might not) offer internal travel contracts for healthcare workers. Nurse.org was able to verify this list of hospitals directly with the hospital representatives themselves. 

List of Hospitals By State Offering Internal Travel Nurse Programs

The benefits of a hospital offering internal travel nursing programs can be considerable—it might give applicants the opportunity to “try-out” a hospital, or even current staffers to try out different areas of the hospital without fully switching facilities or quitting. It could also be ideal for parents or caregivers who may not be able to commit to long-term work. 

  • Mercy Health System

Banner Health, Phoenix, AZ

HonorHealth, Scottsdale, AZ

Scripps, San Diego

Trinity Health

  • UC Health Colorado 
  • Advent Health 
  • Orlando Health
  • Health First
  • Advent Health
  • Emory Healthcare
  • OSF Illinois 
  • Bon Secours Mercy Health

Trinity Healthcare

North Carolina

  • Mercy Health, Portland ME
  • Mercy Health, Bangor ME
  • Mercy Health System 
  • University Hospitals Health Systems, Cleveland, Ohio

Pennsylvania

  • Well Span York

South Carolina

South dakota.

  • Sanford Health

Christus Health

  • UVA Health Charlottesville

West Virginia

  • MON health Morgantown, WV

Don’t see your hospital on the list? Email us at [email protected] to get it added. 

Qualifications for internal travel nurse jobs can vary depending on the specific healthcare facility and its requirements. However, in general, candidates must meet the following qualifications:

RN License : Candidates must have a valid and active RN license in the state where the facility is located.

Experience : Typically, healthcare facilities prefer nurses with a certain amount of experience, often requiring a minimum of 1-3 years of clinical nursing experience. Having a diverse background in various nursing specialties can be advantageous.

Skills and Competencies : Nurses applying for internal travel positions should possess strong clinical skills, adaptability, the ability to quickly learn and navigate different units, and excellent communication skills.

Certifications : Depending on the facility's requirements, certain certifications might be necessary. For instance, depending on where the nurse will work, certifications such as Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), or others may be a requirement for consideration to work in an internal travel nurse position.

Flexibility : Internal travel nurses must usually agree to be flexible in terms of scheduling, shifts, and the units they are assigned to. They should be comfortable with working in different departments as the facility's needs change. Many institutions offer internal travel nurse contracts for up to six months or longer.

Internal travel nurses usually also undergo an orientation or training period to become familiar with the specific protocols, procedures, and electronic medical records system of the unit(s) they will be working in.

How much does an internal travel nurse make?

The compensation for internal travel nurses can vary based on several factors, including the nurse's experience, location, the specific healthcare facility, and the nurse's contract terms. Since internal travel nurses work within a single healthcare institution, their pay structure is likely different from that of traditional external travel nurses who work through staffing agencies.

Internal nurses typically earn a higher per-hour rate than staff nurses at the hospital. However, many hospitals with internal travel contracts may not offer some benefits that staff nurses receive as a part of their agreement.

​​What is the Difference Between Internal and External Travel Nurses?

Internal and external travel nurses are both types of nurses who provide temporary staffing solutions to healthcare facilities, but they differ in terms of where they work and how they are employed.

Internal Travel Nurses

Internal travel nurses, or "internal agency" nurses, work within a single healthcare institution. They are employed by the facility itself and are part of the facility's nursing staff.

Internal travel nurses are assigned to different units or departments within the same institution based on the facility's staffing needs. These nurses may also work in a variety of specialties and units within the same hospital. In some cases, internal travel nurses may also travel between local “sister” hospitals. Contracts for internal travel nurses are often six months or longer, and nurses may have the option to renew their contracts upon completion.

External Travel Nurses

External travel nurses, often simply referred to as "travel nurses," work for external staffing agencies that specialize in providing temporary nursing staff to various healthcare facilities.

They are not employed directly by the facility where they work. Instead, they are contracted by the staffing agency to work at different healthcare institutions.

Travel nurses are assigned short-term contracts at various facilities, which could be located in different cities or even different states. External travel nurses need to quickly adapt to different environments, protocols, and charting systems at each new facility.

Chaunie Brusie

Chaunie Brusie , BSN, RN is a nurse-turned-writer with experience in critical care, long-term care, and labor and delivery. Her work has appeared everywhere from Glamor to The New York Times to The Washington Post. Chaunie lives with her husband and five kids in the middle of a hay field in Michigan and you can find more of her work here . 

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What Are Internal Travel Agencies?

portrait of Keith Carlson, BSN, RN, NC-BC

Keith Carlson

Contributing Writer

Learn about our editorial process .

Published December 22, 2022

Medical professional talking on a cell phone in a parking garage

Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

Have you ever wanted to be a travel nurse? Travel nursing has been a high-paying and flexible option throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for nurses seeking new opportunities.

To retain talented nurses, many health systems are now introducing their own internal travel nurse agencies with short-term, well-paid travel contracts within employers’ larger systems of sister facilities.

This page covers internal travel nurse agencies, including how they function, the pros and cons of these positions, and how they benefit nurses. If you think this career is right for you, learn how much you can earn as a travel nurse and new internal travel nurse agencies around the country.

What is an Internal Travel Nurse Agency?

The traditional travel nurse contract is generally a 13-week position at a participating hospital that has a contract with a third-party travel nurse agency. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of nurses took advantage of these high-paying opportunities, criss-crossing the United States to provide urgent staffing at facilities experiencing serious nursing shortages.

While travel nurses are extremely helpful in bolstering staffing in times of need, there are several downsides for hospitals using them. Firstly, these services are expensive. Participating hospitals also have unfamiliar nurses coming and going from their units on a regular basis.

Maintaining a solid corporate culture and identity can be more difficult when a significant percentage of staff are temporary employees who are only passing through for a few months at a time.

An emerging solution to the ongoing need for travel nurses (and other clinical staff) are internal travel nurse agencies. Hospitals launching their own programs offer eligible staff the opportunity to travel on a short-term basis to sister facilities within the hospital system. This creates an internal mobile workforce that can be shifted from one area to another on an as-needed basis. Internal travel agencies frequently offer premium salaries that are competitive with traditional travel nurse agencies, along with incentive stipends and housing allowances.

However, in some hospital systems, internal travelers do not necessarily receive the same health insurance and other benefits as full-time permanent staff since their pay is significantly higher. Some internal travel nurse agencies are open to external nurse applicants who apply specifically for employment in their internal travel program.

What Makes Internal Travel Nurse Agencies Different?

Internal travel nurse agencies differ from external agencies in that their traveler nurses work for the same healthcare system. Nurses from external travel agencies are sent to facilities where they aren't familiar with the processes. But internal travel nurses know the facility's electronic medical record, corporate culture, policies and procedures, and other aspects of the workplace.

Some internal agencies offer nurses a user-friendly self-scheduling process, minimum commitment requirements, stipends and bonuses, and highly flexible scheduling. These benefits can be very attractive based on the nurse’s lifestyle and needs.

Similar to travel and staffing agencies, some internal travel nurse agencies do not offer benefits like health insurance, paid time off, and dependent care and retirement fund contributions. Yet, for nurses covered under a spouse’s health insurance and no need for other incentives, this can be an excellent choice.

How Do Nurses Join Internal Nurse Travel Agencies?

Online applications for internal travel nurse agencies are fairly similar to the typical nursing applications. Requirements for internal travel nurse agencies often include:

  • An unencumbered nursing license
  • An accredited nursing education
  • At least one year of clinical experience
  • The ability to be flexible in terms of scheduling
  • Clinical skills related to the advertised position
  • Basic life support (BLS) and/or Advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) certifications
  • Successfully passing a drug screen

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Where are internal nurse travel agencies located.

Internal travel nurse agencies can be found in a growing number of cities, states, and health systems. According to Becker’s Hospital Review ’s list, that is admittedly not exhaustive, you can find internal travel nurse programs at the following facilities in the following states:

  • Arkansas: Mercy
  • Arizona: HonorHealth, Banner Health
  • California: Scripps Health, Trinity Health
  • Colorado: UCHealth
  • Connecticut: Trinity Health
  • Delaware: Trinity Health
  • Florida: AdventHealth, Orlando Health, Health First, Trinity Health
  • Georgia: AdventHealth, Trinity Health
  • Idaho: Trinity Health
  • Illinois: AdventHealth, OSF HealthCare, Trinity Health
  • Indiana: Trinity Health
  • Iowa: CHI Health, Trinity Health
  • Kansas: AdventHealth, Mercy
  • Kentucky: AdventHealth
  • Maryland: Trinity Health
  • Massachusetts: Trinity Health
  • Michigan: Henry Ford Health, Bronson Healthcare, Trinity Health
  • Minnesota: CHI Health
  • Missouri: Mercy
  • Nebraska: CHI Health
  • New Jersey: Trinity Health
  • New York: Trinity Health
  • North Carolina: AdventHealth
  • North Dakota: CHI Health
  • Ohio: University Hospitals, Trinity Health
  • Oklahoma: Mercy
  • Pennsylvania: WellSpan, UPMC, Trinity Health
  • Texas: AdventHealth, Christus Health
  • West Virginia: Mon Health
  • Wisconsin: AdventHealth

Units and specialties where internal travel nurses can find employment include, but are not limited to:

  • Medical surgical
  • Intensive Care Unit (ICU)/Cardiac Care Unit (CCU)/Progressive Care Unit (PCU)
  • Emergency Department
  • Inpatient rehab

Pros and Cons of Internal Travel Nurse Agencies

Internal travel nurse agencies offer nurses the flexibility and excitement of travel opportunities with the benefit of staying within the same organization. Like traditional traveling through a third-party agency, this lifestyle and workstyle may be perfect for some nursing professionals, while it may not be optimal for everyone.

  • Flexible schedule
  • The opportunity to travel and work in new places
  • Higher pay, bonuses, stipends, and incentives
  • Working within the same overall organizational culture
  • Adjusting to new facilities, units, and colleagues on a regular basis
  • Being away from family and familiar places
  • Constantly adjusting to new organizations and their cultures

How Much do Internal Travel Nurses Make?

You will find similarities and differences when comparing internal travel nurse salaries and benefits between internal vs. third-party agencies.

Paid time off (PTO)

Frequently asked questions about internal travel nurse agencies, what makes internal travel nursing different from staff nursing and travel nursing.

Some internal agencies offer full or partial benefits to traveling nurses, while external agencies typically do not. Also, internal travelers work for the same employer and do not have to adjust to a different corporate culture with each new assignment, so some familiarity can be expected no matter the assignment.

How much does an internal travel nurse make?

Although salaries are advertised as “competitive” or “premium”, internal travel nurse agencies do not openly state specific salaries on the web pages for these programs. Salary information is more likely to be available to employees with access to company intranet systems and actual position postings.

What is the long-term strategy of these internal travel nurse programs?

The long-term strategy of internal travel nurse programs is to maintain a travel-ready cohort of their workforce who can move around the country based on patient census, staffing shortages, public health emergencies, and other factors. The number of internal traveling nurses a hospital system may need at any given time can change. Having a pool of nurses willing to travel on an as-needed basis is an excellent way to prepare for staffing shortfalls or surges in capacity. Hospital systems are likely to benefit financially from not needing to use external third-party agencies that charge a hefty fee for providing travelers.

What state has the most opportunities for internal travel nurses?

Based on Becker’s Hospital Review data, Florida appears to have a relatively high number of facilities offering opportunities for internal travel nurses. Illinois, Michigan, and Pennsylvania also show a high level of internal travel activity. It should be noted that this is not an exhaustive list and additional internal travel nurse opportunities may exist elsewhere.

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What Are Internal Travel Nurses?

2022-09-22 11:00:00 | cecilia gillen.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals and healthcare systems have leaned on healthcare travelers to address exacerbated staffing shortages . While this healthcare staffing shortage continues to press on, some health systems are addressing their staffing needs by creating internal travel programs . Here’s everything you need to know about health systems creating insider travel.

What are internal travel nurse programs?

  • What's the difference between an internal travel nurse and an agency travel nurse?

Potential issues with internal travel agencies

How does marketplace give travelers more freedom.

Internal travel nurse programs or internal travel pools offer short term healthcare contracts, similar to traditional travel contracts offered through staffing agencies. As a result, healthcare systems are creating internal travel nurses , or full-time staff who will be reassigned to work in a different department, facility, or location on a temporary basis.

Healthcare systems are hoping to attract healthcare professionals to their hard-to-fill areas without having to rely on traditional staffing agencies. They’re also trying to retain local staff from leaving to become a healthcare traveler and entice current travelers at their facility to stay. Overall, healthcare systems are creating internal agencies to tackle staffing issues while keeping costs low.

One of the healthcare systems to spark this trend was University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). They created UPMC Travel Staffing which offers six-week contracts to limited locations owned by their systems. Other large health systems like CHI Health, Christus Health, Advent Health, and more have followed suit with similar programs.

What’s the difference between an internal travel nurse and an agency travel nurse?

The difference between an internal travel nurse and a typical travel nurse contracted by a staffing agency comes down to a few things. While the two paths may share similarities like higher pay than staff jobs and short-term contracts, there are quite a few differences.

Fewer choices

With internal travel nurse programs, travelers don’t have much of a choice in terms of location, setting, or unit. Travelers are limited to a certain geographical area that the health system operates in and may not have as much of a say when it comes to job preferences.

No recruiter

Another difference is that internal travel nurses don’t have recruiters like normal travelers. Anyone who’s traveled for a while knows that a strong recruiter relationship makes all the difference. Having someone to advocate for you and help you negotiate what you want and need out of a job is a huge benefit of traveling through a traditional staffing agency.

Limited to one source for jobs

Additionally, a typical traveler isn’t tied to one agency. They can compare jobs from multiple agencies through a job board like Marketplace and see where the highest-paying jobs are being offered. In comparison, a traveler would be limited to the rates and jobs an internal travel program is offering.

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No tax-free stipends

You also may not be offered the same tax-free stipends through an internal program as you would through a typical agency. Internal programs may give you a housing stipend or provide housing, but they will tax the value of that housing as if it were taxable wages, meaning your take home pay may be less as a result. A huge advantage of being a travel nurse through an agency is being able to maximize your tax-free earnings through stipends and per diems, so you take home the most money as possible.

One current fear people may have about internal travel agencies is that there will be a migration of staff from their permanent roles into internal travel positions. To dissuade all their staff workers from taking in-house travel positions, travel pay may not be much more than staff pay, even though it will still come with a similar lifestyle change of a typical travel nurse. 

And because these in-house travel positions are limited to a smaller geographical area, traveling may be more feasible for more permanent staff now than ever before, as those unable to travel due to familial or other location related obligations now can. However, this may leave gaps in coverage among staff nurses, especially in less-desirable facilities, which may worsen already existing staff shortages .

With Marketplace, you’ll never be limited to a certain location, setting, unit, or pay rate. You have all the freedom, flexibility, and choice as a traveler. We think those things are pretty important, especially given they’re usually the main reason people choose to travel in the first place.

When you use our platform, you can browse and compare thousands of jobs from multiple agencies. You can work with multiple agencies and recruiters at once until you find the perfect job for you. Plus, the job search is always on your terms and in your hands.

We put you in the driver’s seat of your career. You get to call the shots when you travel deciding when, where, and how often you work, choices you may not be afforded if you go through an internal travel nurse program. Browse the vast array of jobs we have for you today on Marketplace.

Cecilia Gillen

Cecilia Gillen

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Roni The Travel Guru

Moscow Metro – Part 2

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Have you been to Moscow ? In all seriousness, they have the prettiest metro stations I have ever seen and I still can’t believe how immaculate and lovely every station was. There are several different stations pictured below and this is the second of several posts where I will show you the beauty of the Moscow Metro. Did you see part 1 ?  There really isn’t much to say because I think the pictures speak for themselves. I have so many more pictures to share with you!

moscow metro

Have you ever been to Moscow? Is it someplace you have thought about visiting?

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She speaks fluent English, French and Spanish, and works for a major airline. And guess what? She’s also a licensed elementary teacher and has an MBA.

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The Moscow Metro Museum of Art: 10 Must-See Stations

There are few times one can claim having been on the subway all afternoon and loving it, but the Moscow Metro provides just that opportunity.  While many cities boast famous public transport systems—New York’s subway, London’s underground, San Salvador’s chicken buses—few warrant hours of exploration.  Moscow is different: Take one ride on the Metro, and you’ll find out that this network of railways can be so much more than point A to B drudgery.

The Metro began operating in 1935 with just thirteen stations, covering less than seven miles, but it has since grown into the world’s third busiest transit system ( Tokyo is first ), spanning about 200 miles and offering over 180 stops along the way.  The construction of the Metro began under Joseph Stalin’s command, and being one of the USSR’s most ambitious building projects, the iron-fisted leader instructed designers to create a place full of svet (radiance) and svetloe budushchee (a radiant future), a palace for the people and a tribute to the Mother nation.

Consequently, the Metro is among the most memorable attractions in Moscow.  The stations provide a unique collection of public art, comparable to anything the city’s galleries have to offer and providing a sense of the Soviet era, which is absent from the State National History Museum.  Even better, touring the Metro delivers palpable, experiential moments, which many of us don’t get standing in front of painting or a case of coins.

Though tours are available , discovering the Moscow Metro on your own provides a much more comprehensive, truer experience, something much less sterile than following a guide.  What better place is there to see the “real” Moscow than on mass transit: A few hours will expose you to characters and caricatures you’ll be hard-pressed to find dining near the Bolshoi Theater.  You become part of the attraction, hear it in the screech of the train, feel it as hurried commuters brush by: The Metro sucks you beneath the city and churns you into the mix.

With the recommendations of our born-and-bred Muscovite students, my wife Emma and I have just taken a self-guided tour of what some locals consider the top ten stations of the Moscow Metro. What most satisfied me about our Metro tour was the sense of adventure .  I loved following our route on the maps of the wagon walls as we circled the city, plotting out the course to the subsequent stops; having the weird sensation of being underground for nearly four hours; and discovering the next cavern of treasures, playing Indiana Jones for the afternoon, piecing together fragments of Russia’s mysterious history.  It’s the ultimate interactive museum.

Top Ten Stations (In order of appearance)

Kievskaya station.

chi internal travel

Kievskaya Station went public in March of 1937, the rails between it and Park Kultury Station being the first to cross the Moscow River.  Kievskaya is full of mosaics depicting aristocratic scenes of Russian life, with great cameo appearances by Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin.  Each work has a Cyrillic title/explanation etched in the marble beneath it; however, if your Russian is rusty, you can just appreciate seeing familiar revolutionary dates like 1905 ( the Russian Revolution ) and 1917 ( the October Revolution ).

Mayakovskaya Station

Mayakovskaya Station ranks in my top three most notable Metro stations. Mayakovskaya just feels right, done Art Deco but no sense of gaudiness or pretention.  The arches are adorned with rounded chrome piping and create feeling of being in a jukebox, but the roof’s expansive mosaics of the sky are the real showstopper.  Subjects cleverly range from looking up at a high jumper, workers atop a building, spires of Orthodox cathedrals, to nimble aircraft humming by, a fleet of prop planes spelling out CCCP in the bluest of skies.

Novoslobodskaya Station

chi internal travel

Novoslobodskaya is the Metro’s unique stained glass station.  Each column has its own distinctive panels of colorful glass, most of them with a floral theme, some of them capturing the odd sailor, musician, artist, gardener, or stenographer in action.  The glass is framed in Art Deco metalwork, and there is the lovely aspect of discovering panels in the less frequented haunches of the hall (on the trackside, between the incoming staircases).  Novosblod is, I’ve been told, the favorite amongst out-of-town visitors.

Komsomolskaya Station

Komsomolskaya Station is one of palatial grandeur.  It seems both magnificent and obligatory, like the presidential palace of a colonial city.  The yellow ceiling has leafy, white concrete garland and a series of golden military mosaics accenting the tile mosaics of glorified Russian life.  Switching lines here, the hallway has an Alice-in-Wonderland feel, impossibly long with decorative tile walls, culminating in a very old station left in a remarkable state of disrepair, offering a really tangible glimpse behind the palace walls.

Dostoevskaya Station

chi internal travel

Dostoevskaya is a tribute to the late, great hero of Russian literature .  The station at first glance seems bare and unimpressive, a stark marble platform without a whiff of reassembled chips of tile.  However, two columns have eerie stone inlay collages of scenes from Dostoevsky’s work, including The Idiot , The Brothers Karamazov , and Crime and Punishment.   Then, standing at the center of the platform, the marble creates a kaleidoscope of reflections.  At the entrance, there is a large, inlay portrait of the author.

Chkalovskaya Station

Chkalovskaya does space Art Deco style (yet again).  Chrome borders all.  Passageways with curvy overhangs create the illusion of walking through the belly of a chic, new-age spacecraft.  There are two (kos)mosaics, one at each end, with planetary subjects.  Transferring here brings you above ground, where some rather elaborate metalwork is on display.  By name similarity only, I’d expected Komsolskaya Station to deliver some kosmonaut décor; instead, it was Chkalovskaya that took us up to the space station.

Elektrozavodskaya Station

chi internal travel

Elektrozavodskaya is full of marble reliefs of workers, men and women, laboring through the different stages of industry.  The superhuman figures are round with muscles, Hollywood fit, and seemingly undeterred by each Herculean task they respectively perform.  The station is chocked with brass, from hammer and sickle light fixtures to beautiful, angular framework up the innards of the columns.  The station’s art pieces are less clever or extravagant than others, but identifying the different stages of industry is entertaining.

Baumanskaya Statio

Baumanskaya Station is the only stop that wasn’t suggested by the students.  Pulling in, the network of statues was just too enticing: Out of half-circle depressions in the platform’s columns, the USSR’s proud and powerful labor force again flaunts its success.  Pilots, blacksmiths, politicians, and artists have all congregated, posing amongst more Art Deco framing.  At the far end, a massive Soviet flag dons the face of Lenin and banners for ’05, ’17, and ‘45.  Standing in front of the flag, you can play with the echoing roof.

Ploshchad Revolutsii Station

chi internal travel

Novokuznetskaya Station

Novokuznetskaya Station finishes off this tour, more or less, where it started: beautiful mosaics.  This station recalls the skyward-facing pieces from Mayakovskaya (Station #2), only with a little larger pictures in a more cramped, very trafficked area.  Due to a line of street lamps in the center of the platform, it has the atmosphere of a bustling market.  The more inventive sky scenes include a man on a ladder, women picking fruit, and a tank-dozer being craned in.  The station’s also has a handsome black-and-white stone mural.

Here is a map and a brief description of our route:

Start at (1)Kievskaya on the “ring line” (look for the squares at the bottom of the platform signs to help you navigate—the ring line is #5, brown line) and go north to Belorusskaya, make a quick switch to the Dark Green/#2 line, and go south one stop to (2)Mayakovskaya.  Backtrack to the ring line—Brown/#5—and continue north, getting off at (3)Novosblodskaya and (4)Komsolskaya.  At Komsolskaya Station, transfer to the Red/#1 line, go south for two stops to Chistye Prudy, and get on the Light Green/#10 line going north.  Take a look at (5)Dostoevskaya Station on the northern segment of Light Green/#10 line then change directions and head south to (6)Chkalovskaya, which offers a transfer to the Dark Blue/#3 line, going west, away from the city center.  Have a look (7)Elektroskaya Station before backtracking into the center of Moscow, stopping off at (8)Baumskaya, getting off the Dark Blue/#3 line at (9)Ploschad Revolyutsii.  Change to the Dark Green/#2 line and go south one stop to see (10)Novokuznetskaya Station.

Check out our new Moscow Indie Travel Guide , book a flight to Moscow and read 10 Bars with Views Worth Blowing the Budget For

Jonathon Engels, formerly a patron saint of misadventure, has been stumbling his way across cultural borders since 2005 and is currently volunteering in the mountains outside of Antigua, Guatemala.  For more of his work, visit his website and blog .

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Photo credits:   SergeyRod , all others courtesy of the author and may not be used without permission

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    The CHI Health Midwest Internal Travel Program allows nurses, technicians, pharmacists and other workers to be full-time CHI Health employees, receiving full-time pay, a traveler rate, a stipend ...

  12. CHI Health program will keep nurses in Nebraska, alleviate staffing

    The Midwest Internal Travel Program will help solve staffing shortages at the 28 CHI Health hospitals across the Midwest. The program will have nurses and other health care workers on six to 12 ...

  13. CHI Health program aims to lessen impact of nurse shortage

    CHI Health is aiming at just that with its Midwest Internal Travel Program. Staffing operations market manager Bo Vanis said it's been active for around five years.

  14. These Hospitals Offer Internal, Direct-Hire, Travel Nurse Programs (List)

    Mercy Health System a system across four states (more than 40 hospitals and more than 40,000 co-workers) piloted their program in Springfield, Missouri, and now it has expanded across their four-state footprint. Advent Health the internal travel nurse program is offered in their hospitals in all states: Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas ...

  15. RN Internal Traveler Jobs, Employment

    Internal Traveler - Registered Nurse - Behavioral Health Services Inpatient. Boulder Community Health, Boulder, CO 80303. Pay range is between $65 - $75/hr. Posted. Posted 7 days ago ·. More... View all Boulder Community Health jobs in Boulder, CO - Boulder jobs - Travel Nurse jobs in Boulder, CO.

  16. What Is An Internal Travel Agency?

    What is an Internal Travel Nurse Agency? The traditional travel nurse contract is generally a 13-week position at a participating hospital that has a contract with a third-party travel nurse agency. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of nurses took advantage of these high-paying opportunities, criss-crossing the United States to ...

  17. What Are Internal Travel Nurses?

    Internal travel nurse programs or internal travel pools offer short term healthcare contracts, similar to traditional travel contracts offered through staffing agencies. As a result, healthcare systems are creating internal travel nurses, or full-time staff who will be reassigned to work in a different department, facility, or location on a ...

  18. Search our Job Opportunities at CommonSpirit Health

    Radiology CHI Health Creighton University Medical Center - Bergan Mercy Omaha, Nebraska. Apply; ... Travel Nursing [3] Country. Remote [125] United States [896] State. Arizona [42] Arkansas [245] California [34] ... Internal Medicine [2] Interventional Radiology [5] Labor And Delivery Services [9] Laboratory Services [24]

  19. childrens rn travel jobs

    Summer Camp Registered Travel Nurse - Temporary. Hiring multiple candidates. CampGroup LLC. United States. $800 - $1,200 a week. Full-time + 1. Easily apply. Position includes a salary, travel stipend, and free housing/meals. Prior experience with children (does not have to be in a medical capacity).

  20. Moscow Metro

    Ihere is something special about seeing art and beauty while hundreds of feet underground. The metro in Moscow is breathtakingly beautiful, don't you think?

  21. Elektrostal to Moscow

    Moscow, Russia. Moscow is the capital and largest city of the Russian Federation. The city stands on the Moskva River in Central Russia, with a population estimated at 13.0 million residents within the city limits, over 18.8 million residents in the urban area, and over 21.5 million residents in the metropolitan area.

  22. The Moscow Metro Museum of Art: 10 Must-See Stations

    Have a look (7)Elektroskaya Station before backtracking into the center of Moscow, stopping off at (8)Baumskaya, getting off the Dark Blue/#3 line at (9)Ploschad Revolyutsii. Change to the Dark Green/#2 line and go south one stop to see (10)Novokuznetskaya Station. Check out our new Moscow Indie Travel Guide, book a flight to Moscow and read 10 ...

  23. Kiyevsky Railway Terminal to Elektrostal

    Rome2Rio is a door-to-door travel information and booking engine, helping you get to and from any location in the world. Find all the transport options for your trip from Kiyevsky Railway Terminal to Elektrostal right here. Rome2Rio displays up to date schedules, route maps, journey times and estimated fares from relevant transport operators ...