If you’re sick of office politics or just looking for a new challenge, travel nursing might be your perfect career move. However, it’s not for everyone.
New travel nursing assignments open up across the country daily for various specialties. By exploring your options, learn how to make this career choice work for you.
Due to their high demand, travel nursing jobs offer higher wages than staff nurses. Hospitals need travel nurses to fill gaps in nursing staff caused by unexpected shortages, seasonal population fluctuations, and planned absences like maternity leave.
Nurses with specialty certifications also earn higher pay rates. Hospitals need help finding staff nurses with skills in certain areas, such as cardiac catheterization, oncology, or neonatal intensive care.
The best travel nurse agency generally provides Travel nurse housing through a stipend that covers rent or complimentary housing within dorms or off-campus apartments. Most travel nurses opt for a housing stipend to live with roommates to save money, find pet-friendly accommodations, or rent more prominent places. Whatever option you choose, it’s essential to consider the local cost of living costs when determining your total pay package. Getting a travel nurse job in an area with a lower cost of living is a great way to maximize your paycheck.
As a travel nurse, you’ll be placed at hospitals and healthcare facilities nationwide and worldwide. Each assignment typically lasts a short time, giving you plenty of opportunity to explore your new location.
In addition to this, your agency will likely provide you with a housing stipend that helps offset living costs. This will increase your yearly income by helping you pay rent, meals, and other miscellaneous expenses. This will help ensure that your job security is high.
You’ll also be able to choose which assignments you want to take. This allows you to handpick your environment to match your personality and interests. For example, if you love hiking and exploring new territories, you can accept a contract in the mountains. Alternatively, you can opt for a beach town. The beauty of this is that you’ll never be stuck somewhere you don’t enjoy, which can happen when working in a traditional nursing position.
Travel nurses can find positions in various locations and types of hospitals. For professionals still determining where to settle, travel nursing allows them to dabble in several areas and choose their best fit before taking a permanent position.
While traveling nurses may forgo employee benefits such as health care and retirement plans, they enjoy a flexible schedule that allows them to work when and where they want. They can take extended breaks between assignments to visit their family and friends or plan a vacation.
As they move to each new assignment, travel nurses also build a vast professional network. They connect with permanent staff nurses and fellow travelers at each hospital where they work, and they also develop a strong network of recruiters from the agencies they use to find travel nursing jobs. These connections can be invaluable in advancing their careers and finding permanent positions. In addition, many travel nurse agencies offer free housing or a stipend to cover living costs while on assignment.
After the pandemic put travel nurses in the spotlight, hospitals began offering bonuses and incentives to entice these temporary employees. Sign-on bonuses, completion bonuses, housing stipends, and higher pay are just a few of the perks that come with travel nursing positions.
The availability of new assignments in various locations throughout the country is another appealing aspect of travel nurse jobs. If you have a particular place in mind that you’d like to live in, a recruiter can help you find a position there.
As you move from one assignment to the next, you’ll meet new colleagues — permanent hospital staff members and fellow travelers in your agency. You’ll also have the opportunity to build a solid professional network, which can open doors for you in your career. However, the constant moving may cause you to be away from family and friends more than you’d like. You’ll likely need to take extended breaks between contracts to visit them. However, if seeing them is your priority, you can always work in an area close to home.
A travel nurse can work in various healthcare environments, gaining experience that would be hard to replicate in a permanent nursing position. This experience benefits nurses looking to broaden their perspectives, strengthen their skills, and improve their patient care techniques.
Travel nurses typically have a short orientation period, which gives them time to learn their new hospital’s policies, procedures, and custom charting systems on the fly. This fast-paced environment can be challenging at times, as there is only a limited amount of time to earn the trust of their peers and supervisors.
The flexibility offered by travel nurse assignments allows nurses to design a lifestyle that meets their individual needs. For example, some travel nurses choose to take contracts in locations that offer great skiing or other outdoor activities. In contrast, others enjoy taking long breaks between assignments to visit family and see the sights. Whatever your reasons, you can find a travel nursing job that perfectly fits you. Before starting your search, ensure you know why you want to become a travel nurse.