The Best and the Worse Things About Travel Nursing

The Best and the Worse Things About Travel Nursing

The Best and the Worse Things About Travel Nursing

Just like any job, there are pros and cons of travel nursing. Don’t get me wrong, travel nursing is an excellent job, but knowing the pros and cons will help you understand it better. Do you plan to become a travel nurse? Great! Here are the pros and cons of travel nursing that you should know.

Worse Things About Travel Nursing

Before we get to the good part, we will first talk about the cons of travel nursing. It will give you an insight into why travel nursing isn’t ideal for all nurses. 

No paid time off

Understand that not all travel nurse companies pay their nurses during their day off. It means you will not be paid if you want to go out of town to visit your friends or family during your day off. What if you’re sick and have to miss work, and you’ll use your days off to get rest? Sometimes, your living stipend can be deducted for the days you missed. It is something to think about. 

Taxes could be your nightmare

As a travel nurse, you are constantly on the move. That said, you will be claiming your income in different places of work too. Filing multiple income tax returns can be daunting. It also needs to be clarified as different states may have other requirements for travel nurses. You could make mistakes along the way. And because of this, you might need to hire a professional to do your returns to avoid errors. So besides paying taxes, you will also pay someone to do it for you. That’s double expenses on your part. 

You’re always in new and unfamiliar places

If you need help adjusting to a new environment, being a travel nurse is not for you. As a travel nurse, you will be assigned to unfamiliar places, and you have to learn the ropes once you get there. It means you will find ways to learn the policies and procedures of the facility you’re assigned to. You will also familiarize yourself with the area you’re temporarily living in. And if you find this uncomfortable, you will not survive this job. 

Pay rates may vary

Besides the possibility of not getting paid on your day off, you will also have to deal with varying pay rates. Understand that not all travel nursing companies pay their nurses the same rates. Some of them may offer lower pay, but you have benefits, while others may pay higher but no other benefits. Some states also offer higher wages for travel nurses, while others only pay a little. If you prefer earning fixed wages, there may be better jobs than travel nursing. 

The “new guy” role

Since this job includes traveling to different places for work, there’s a stigma of being the “newbie” on the job. There’s nothing wrong with being the new guy on the job, but it can get tiring to know different people or remember names. it also feels lonely when you’re alone in a new setting, and making friends can be challenging. Even if you’re a good person who wants to interact with people, it may sometimes be different for others. So you have to take time to adjust to the loneliness. 

Work assignments can sometimes suck

As the new guy on the team, you will sometimes get assigned to work that no other nurses would like to do. Sure, you may not care too much because it’s part of the job, but sometimes, you don’t want to be someone who cleans up poo and urine all the time, right? It may not always be the case, but you can’t avoid it. You’ll eventually get assigned to a job that no one wants. 

The work schedule is only sometimes favorable

Your job is to fill in as additional nursing staff to healthcare facilities that need help. It also means that you need to pick your work schedule. There will be times when you’re assigned hours you don’t like or on days you don’t want. It will affect your schedule and plans in many ways. Most of the time, you will be working the night shifts too. If this doesn’t bother you initially, it will be difficult to adjust to in the long run. 

Floating assignments

Your assignment as a travel nurse brings you to many places, but at the same time, it also gives you assignments you won’t like. One of these is being assigned as a float nurse. Although you’re supposed to be placed in a specific area, you will also be assigned as a float nurse due to staff shortage. 

A float nurse is when you’re sent to another unit to help as a staff besides the unit you were assigned in first. And their healthcare facilities have policies in which travel nurses are the first to float around units. That said, you will have to learn everything about the unit you float to and be the new nurse in a new place all over again. So, if you don’t want to do this kind of assignment, you may have to think twice about becoming a travel nurse. 

Licensing issues

Each state has a different licensing requirement for travel nurses. Some require a compact license, while others are okay with your current one. But as you progress into your travel nurse career, you will need a couple of licenses in different states, and it can be challenging to obtain them. And if you choose to avoid getting multiple licenses, this can limit your contract choices. So, not only is it costly, but it’s also time-consuming to complete. 

A contract can be canceled at any time

There will be times when your contract gets canceled before it even starts. It could be because the hospital you’re assigned to feels like they no longer need to fill in the travel nurse position. When this happens, you end up with no job. It’s even uncomfortable when you’re already in the location waiting for your shift to start, then all of a sudden, your contract gets canceled. What will you do then? This is one disadvantage of travel nursing that you need to be prepared for. You must have a backup plan in case this happens. 

Homesickness is an issue

When you’re a new travel nurse, being homesick is normal. But if you still get homesick even after years of being a travel nurse, the issue is in you. Accepting a contract in a location that is near your family and friends may ease this longing. However, your travel nurse assignments may only sometimes be near your home. If this is going to be an issue for you, you need to rethink your decision to become a travel nurse. 

Best Things About Travel Nursing

Travel nursing has many disadvantages, yes, but it is also a rewarding job. If you love nursing and traveling, this is your ideal job. So, what are the advantages of being a travel nurse? Here’s what you need to know. 

There’s job security

Travel nurses will always have a job. There’s a need for nurses all over the country. Remember that we’re still dealing with the Covid-19 crisis, and nurses must care for thousands of complex patients affected by the pandemic. Hospitals always need nurses, and there will be vacancies to fill in. The number of nurse retirees and nurses that left the profession because of the pandemic is countless. So, the need for staff nurses is always there. Travel nurses will never be out of jobs in the future, that’s for sure. 

Pay is Great

One of the best advantages of being a travel nurse is earning a six-figure salary. Sounds good. In some cases, some hospitals can even increase the travel nurse’s pay if they need staff. It’s an excellent chance to grab. You can expect to get paid higher than the permanent employees at any hospital you’re hired in, something which you should consider. 

The chance to travel 

If you’re a nurse with a wanderlust, travel nursing is an excellent option to do. By the job title itself, you always have the chance to travel all over the country. Not only o you get to travel, but you can also live in different places where you’re assigned. This is your dream job if you love working and exploring various places. 

No workplace politics

Drama at work is inevitable. It is a real problem when you stay in one job and work with the same people for years. Be a travel nurse to avoid getting tangled in workplace politics. All you have to do is show up for work, get paid, and leave. You don’t have to attend meetings, participate in clubs, or deal with the politics of your unit. Sounds like a dream to me. 

Meeting and making new friends.

You will always be the new nurse as a travel nurse, but you can still make friends. Traveling as a nurse is more fun when you meet new people and make friends. The experience becomes more memorable. Not only do you get to meet people, but you also make connections. And these connections can help your career in the future. Now that’s a win-win situation! 

It teaches you new life skills

When you become a travel nurse, you will find yourself in situations that are not normal. You also leave the comforts of your home and everything that you know. As a travel nurse, you set out into the unknown. You will have to use every survival and critical thinking skill you know to adapt to the changes and new environment. It also enhances your communication skills and builds your resilience. 

There’s flexibility

You may not get paid on your day off, but you have control over your working hours. It is one of the advantages of this job. Unlike permanent positions, travel nurses can apply for vacation and get certain days off in their schedules. You can plan as many activities as possible because you can choose which days you want to work and days to slack off. If this is your kind of thing, we recommend becoming a travel nurse today. 


Your travel expenses, uniforms, and nursing license expenses will be reimbursed by the company that hired you. So, besides your take-home salary, you also have additional payments through reimbursements. It’s like starting your career for free.

Your Takeaway

Being a travel nurse is a mixture of leisure and work. It may be challenging at first, but as your work pushes on, you will realize it’s not all bad. Travel nursing has many benefits if you like to be on the go and enjoy working as a nurse. It’s a practical job if you wish to remain untied to long-term positions. So, why not try it for a couple of months and see how it goes? You’ll never know what’s in store for you!

EP 81: 6 Tips for Your First Day Off Orientation

EP 81: 6 Tips for Your First Day Off Orientation

6 Tips for Your First Day Off Orientation

It’s your first day off orientation! So, you’ve been oriented for at least 13 weeks now. What next? You have your first day alone. It’s going to be scary, and the fear isn’t to go away until about six months after your first day. 

How to Make it Through Your 1st Day Off orientation

  • It won’t be perfect
  • Stay organized
  • Get a good report
  • Know where the supplies are
  • Always look up your meds
  • Keep asking questions

It won’t be perfect.

It’s your first day by yourself. No one expects you to know everything and do everything. The critical thing you are responsible for is the patient’s stability. You need to recognize a change in your patient’s status; your recognition will make or break your shift. 

Stay organized.

Staying organized will keep you busy and on task. The good idea is to write out everything you need to do. Make a checklist of things that need to be completed; assessment, labs, meds, and upcoming orders. A list is also beneficial when your patient isn’t doing well because it will help you prioritize and stay on task. Make sure you have one handy.

Get a good report.

Your best resource will be the nurse that had your patient until he/she goes home. Many new nurses are afraid of asking questions because they don’t want to look dumb; you aren’t dumb; you’re just trying to get a good report. Ask what you are unsure about. In my case, I didn’t, and the nurse didn’t bring up the IV site. I didn’t want to be that nurse, so I got in trouble with a patient without an IV. It also delayed my transfer of the patient to the PCU. 

Know where the supplies are.

Knowing what is located in the supply room will save a lot of time and frustration. There have been times when it felt like I was in the supply room for hours and still hadn’t found what I needed. It also makes you more efficient during emergencies. 

Always look up the meds. 

A handful of times, I was rushed and stumped by a patient asking what a medication does. It takes up more of your time by having to go back and forth. It’s also dangerous when a med can impact a patient’s vital signs. Know what you are giving for the safety of your patient. 

Keep asking questions.

No one knows everything. Always ask questions when you aren’t sure. Adverse reactions can be avoided just by simply asking questions. 

Learn to be prepared after your orientation by watching the full episode here 👇👇👇


00:00 Intro
00:34 Today’s episode
02:16 Orientation as New Grad vs. as a Travel Nurse
04:03 Metabolic Age
07:00 First Day Off
08:17 Be detail-oriented about your patient
08:46 Stay organized
16:57 Get a good report
23:56 Know where the supplies are
28:09 Always know the meds that you’re giving
34:44 First Patient Death
39:39 Keep asking questions
43:17 Wrapping up the show
43:56 Updates on the merch, website, etc.
44:55 Recap
46:06 End of show