Get Ready For 'Scrubbing In' With This Handy History Of Traveling Nurses

Nurse

When recovering from an injury or sickness, a hospital stay can be pretty dismal, but sometimes, a friendly nurse's smile is all it takes to pull you out of the doldrums. But how much do you know about the men and women who check your vitals or start your IV? Sure, they could be longtime staples of your local hospital, or -- like the nurses on "Scrubbing In" -- they could just be stopping by.

In 1978, according to Onward Healthcare, the very first travel nurses uprooted themselves and headed to New Orleans, where an influx of Mardi Gras partiers required more medical attention than the local healthcare staff could handle. The trend continued into the '80s, when nursing shortages in cities across the United States and abroad meant more nurses were needed to put their lives temporarily on hold -- usually for about three months -- to live in new places, adapt to new cultures and help entirely new populations through groups like AYA Healthcare. Sounds pretty cool, right?

Unfortunately, shortages are no joke, and it looks like the difference isn't being made up anytime soon. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that one million new and replacement nurses will be needed to help the growing demand by 2016.

With accommodations generally provided for by recruitment agencies in cities across the country, the traveling nurse's journey sort of sounds like an adventure, which is precisely what the ladies of "Scrubbing In" are looking for. Yes, there will be tough grunt work to come, and it's likely their short-term co-workers will get under their skin, but if and when they have the chance to retire, you better believe their favorite stories will come from that temporary stay outside of their comfort zones.

Whether you've got an RN or not, be sure to check out how these traveling nurses cope with their new surroundings when "Scrubbing In" premieres October 24 at 10/9c!

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Photo: AP