6 Reasons to Consider a Career In Travel Nursing – It’s no secret that nurses are in high demand. The profession has seen shortages for years, and those problems were only exacerbated by the COVID 19 pandemic. The pandemic saw nurses leaving the workforce in droves due to both burnout and childcare considerations. While some nurses have since returned to the workplace in their former capacity, pre-pandemic levels have not been recovered.
But even with these shortgages, the show must go on. Most hospitals and clinics require nurses in order to function and provide essential services. So when these organizations can’t find enough full-time nurses to fulfill their duties, they often turn to travel nurses. These nurses stay, on average, for about 13 weeks on any given assignment. After their contract is up, they move on to another location, anywhere from across town to across the country.
But why would anyone want to be a travel nurse? There are numerous reasons to do so. Here are six major perks of being a travel nurse.
1. Higher Income
Travel nurses typically go where they’re needed, and that comes with a premium cost. Travel nurse jobs can command impressive hourly and weekly rates. While those numbers vary by location and nursing specialty, travel nurses can easily earn more than $100,000 per year. By contrast, it’s not unusual for a full-time registered nurse to make less than half a travel nurse’s income.
And travel nurses have a great deal of power over the amount of money they make. They can pick and choose assignments based on how much each location is willing to pay them.
For full-time nurses, taking time off work can be complicated. Being absent for any notable stretch of time can strain an already thin staff. And when the nurse returns, there might be a mountain of extra work to catch up on.
Travel nurses don’t have any of those considerations. If they want to take some time off, they can simply request a gap between assignments. Granted, travel nursing doesn’t come with paid time off. Travel nurses would need to set aside funds to provide for themselves during any breaks they take. But with relatively high wages in the profession, setting aside money for that purpose can usually be accomplished.
3. Travel Opportunities
As the name implies, a traveling nurse gets to move around. For those who like to have a stable, long-term home, being a travel nurse isn’t ideal. But for those who want to get paid to see new parts of the country, it doesn’t get much better.
Want to get away from the cold Midwestern winters? A travel nurse could look for open assignments in Hawaii just before icy weather hits. Want to experience Mardi Gras in New Orleans? Request an assignment in Louisiana and make it happen.
Building professional relationships has always been an essential part of career advancement. A travel nurse can very quickly build a large network of professional contacts as they move from place to place.
That can come in very handy if the travel nurse ever decides to attain a more stable employment arrangement. Extensive travel can give the individual an idea of what part of the country they would most like to settle in. From there, it’s a matter of reaching out to contacts in the area built during prior assignments. The travel nursing assignment can almost serve as an employment trial run and streamline hiring.
5. Skill Advancement
Whenever a person starts a new job, they usually pick up on new skills. In nursing, this might be brand new medical information or just being introduced to software that streamlines paperwork and reporting.
So imagine how quickly skills and knowledge can increase when a nurse experiences a new location every few weeks or months. Taking note of the most useful aspects of each location can carry over and improve performance for every upcoming assignment. When it comes to raw skill advancement, that can be far more beneficial than any continuing education course.
5. Avoid Workplace Politics
It’s pretty common for full-time employees to experience interpersonal tension or bureaucracy in the workplace from time to time. Certain people tend to click better, or management might be at odds with those who work under them.
This can be extremely stressful for full-time nurses who come to the same place day after day. It’s just yet another stressor that can worsen nursing burnout. They might feel trapped and unhappy at their job, and going elsewhere is a big step to take.
For travel nurses, it’s easier not to be affected by workplace politics. They typically don’t feel the need to compete with those they work with or have advancement aspirations on an assignment. Really, there’s no time for those issues to arise. And if a travel nurse finds themselves at a site they don’t enjoy, they’ll be moving on within a matter of weeks.
Put The Power In Your Hands
Being a travel nurse isn’t for everyone. For those who like routine, an established home, and clear career advancement, a full-time position is probably a better fit.
But there are those who want the freedom to travel, meet new people, and have greater control over their income. For those individuals, travel nursing can offer those things while fulfilling nursing shortages across the country.