Travel Nurse Perceptions of Work Environment, Authentic Leadership, Well-Being, and Pandemic Impact

Published:April 01, 2022DOI:


      Travel nurse (TN) utilization has increased in the United States as both a staffing solution and a career choice. We studied the perceptions of TNs regarding their work environment, nurse leadership, and pandemic impact on practice and well-being. We found their well-being “at risk,” disagreement with the presence of a healthy work environment, and high pandemic impact, similar to the larger sample of 1700 US nurses. Authentic nurse leadership was present, signaling solid frontline leadership despite continued pandemic conditions. TNs should be embraced as members of the care team in our new world of dynamic nurse staffing.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Nurse Leader
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


      1. Hansen A, Tuttas C. Professional choice 2020-2021: travel nursing turns the tide. Nurse Leader, in press.

        • Sherman R.
        Tours of Duty: The New Nursing Career Phenomena.
        Emerging RN Leader, 2021 (Available at:)
        • Armour S.
        • Whelan R.
        Travel Nurses Make Twice as Much as They Did Pre-Covid-19.
        The Wall Street Journal. February 8, 2022; (Available at:)
        • Hilgers L.
        Nurses Have Finally Learned What They’re Worth.
        The New York Times. February 15, 2022; (Available at:)
        • Bannow T.
        • Christ G.
        A matter of supply and demand: Healthcare providers face high costs, demand for agency staff as COVID-19 rages.
        Mod Healthc. 2021; 51: 14
        • Kane P.
        Contract nurses: earning much more for less work: the gap between what staff nurses earn and what agency nurses earn is great.
        NY Nurse. 2021; September: 6
        • Raso R.
        • Fitzpatrick J.J.
        • Masick K.
        Perceptions of authentic nurse leadership and work environment and the pandemic impact for nurse leaders and clinical nurses.
        J Nurs Adm. 2021; 51: 257-263
        • Simpson K.
        • Simpson R.
        What do we know about our agency nurse population? A scoping review.
        Nurs Forum. 2019; 54: 492-498
        • Birmingham C.
        • Mortel T.
        • Needham J.
        • Latimer S.
        he experiences of the agency registered nurse: an integrative literature review.
        J Nurs Manage. 2019; 27: 1580-1587
        • Ronnie L.
        Us and them: experiences of agency nurses in intensive care units.
        Intensive Crit Care Nurs. 2020; 56102764
        • DAISY Foundation
        About the DAISY Foundation.
        (Available at:)
        Date accessed: February 20, 2022
        • Giordano-Mulligan M.
        • Eckardt S.
        Authentic nurse leadership conceptual framework: nurses' perception of authentic nurse leader attributes.
        Nurs Adm Q. 2019; 43: 164-174
        • American Association of Critical-Care Nurses
        AACN standards for establishing and sustaining healthy work environments: a journey to excellence.
        Am J Crit Care. 2005; 14: 187
        • Dyrbye L.N.
        • Johnson P.O.
        • Johnson L.M.
        • Satele D.V.
        • Shanafelt T.D.
        Efficacy of the Well-Being Index to identify distress and well-being in US nurses.
        Nurs Res. 2018; 67: 447-455
      2. About the Well-Being Index.
        (Available at:)
        Date accessed: February 20, 2022
        • Joseph M.L.
        • Nelson-Brantley H.V.
        • Caramanica L.
        • et al.
        Building the science to guide nursing administration and leadership decision making.
        Nurs Adm. 2022; 52: 19-26
        • Sherman R.
        Embracing a One and Done Philosophy.
        (Available at:)
        • Bethel C.
        • Olson S.
        • Bay C.
        • Uyeda T.
        • Johnson K.
        Travel nurse onboarding: current trends and identified needs.
        J Nurs Adm. 2019; 49: 436-440
        • Gan I.
        Social comparison and perceived envy-motivated communication involving travel nurses: a qualitative study.
        J Nurs Manage. 2020; 28: 377-384
        • Ferguson A.
        • Bradywood A.
        • Williams B.
        • Blackmore C.C.
        Association of use of contract nurses with hospitalized patient pressure injuries and falls.
        J Nurs Scholarsh. 2020; 52: 527-535


      Rosanne Raso, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, FAONL, is vice president and chief nursing officer at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, in New York, New York. She can be reached at [email protected] Joyce J. Fitzpatrick, PhD, MBA, RN, FAAN, FNAP, is director at Marian K. Shaughnessy Nurse Leadership Academy, and Elizabeth Brooks Professor of Nursing at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland, Ohio.