Dana Hastings, named as an "employee of the month" at North Kansas City Hospital in November, was surprised by the honor for two reasons: She's only been on the job since August, and technically, she is not an employee of the hospital.
Rather, she's a travel nurse with Favorite Nurses, an agency that places nurses on temporary assignments throughout the country.
Although her home base is Colorado, Hastings has had assignments in Nevada, California and Colorado as well as Kansas City. The agencies that place travel nurses say she is part of the solution to the ever-growing nurse shortage in America.
In part because of America's aging population, registered nurses are expected to be one of the fastest-growing occupations for the foreseeable future. The American Nurses Association, citing Bureau of Labor Statistics projections, reports that more than 2.9 million RNs will be employed by 2012. But the BLS forecasts that there will be more than 1.1 million RN openings by that time.