The Best and the Worst Things About Travel Nursing
Just like any job, travel nursing has its pros and cons. Don’t get me wrong, travel nursing is an excellent job, but knowing the pros and cons will help you make the right decision.
Do you plan to become a travel nurse? Has travel nursing been on your mind?
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.
1. 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 time off or in between contracts.
Does this also include your sick days off? Sometimes, your living stipend can be deducted for the days you missed.
This is something you need to be aware of.
2. 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.
3. You’re always in new and unfamiliar places.
If you need help adjusting to a new environment, being a travel nurse can be a lot to take in. 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 constantly need to learn the policies and procedures of the facilities you’re assigned to. You will also need to familiarize yourself with the area you’re temporarily living in.
And if you find this uncomfortable, it will be a struggle for you.
4. 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 offer no r 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 opportunities than travel nursing.
5. 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 constantly be treated as someone new or not really part of the unit.
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 still be difficult to fit in.
So you have to take time to adjust to flying solo.
6. Work assignments can sometimes suck
As the new guy on the team, you will sometimes get assigned the worst patient load. Sure, you may not care too much because it’s part of the job, but sometimes, you don’t want to be the one that always gets the worst assignment.
It may not always be the case, but you can’t avoid it. You’ll eventually get assigned to a set that no one wants.
7. The work schedule is not always favorable.
Your job is to fill in as additional nursing staff to healthcare facilities that need help. It also means that you need to work their 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 bothers you, it may be difficult to adjust to in the long run.
8. 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.
As a float nurse, you’re sent to another unit to help as a staff besides the unit you were assigned to 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.
9. Licensing issues
Each state has a different licensing requirement for travel nurses. Some require their state 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 obtaining them can be challenging and costly.
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.
10. 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.
11. 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, there may be a bigger issue.
Accepting a contract in a location 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 some disadvantages, but it is also very rewarding.
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.
1. 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 pandemic, and nurses must care for these complex patients.
Hospitals always need nurses, and there will be vacancies to fill. 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.
2. Pay is Great
One of the best advantages of being a travel nurse is earning a six-figure salary. In some cases, some hospitals can even increase the travel nurse’s pay if they need staff.
It’s an excellent opportunity to grab. You can expect to get paid higher than the permanent employees at any hospital you’re hired in.
3. The chance to travel
Travel nursing is an excellent option for you if you’re a nurse with a wanderlust. By the job title itself, you always have the chance to travel all over the country.
Not only do you get to travel, but you can also live in different places where you’re assigned.
If you love working and exploring various places, this is your dream job.
4. 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.
5. Meeting and making new friends.
You will always be the new nurse as a travel nurse, but you can always 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!
6. It teaches you 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.
7. 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 can 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.
The cons may be more than expected, but it’s all part of the job we chose. Don’t let it discourage you.
To be a travel nurse means to sacrifice all things familiar, including the comfort zone you’ve always known.
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!
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