Who Makes a Good Travel Nurse?
On some levels, working as a professional travel nurse looks like the ideal job. It provides nurses with an opportunity to live and work in different parts of the country. They can interact with new people. They can move south in the winter, and north in the summer. If they feel like taking a few months off, they don’t have to worry about explaining things to their bosses; they just give themselves a few months to improve their mental health before they accept a new assignment. We love this about travel nursing. Travel nurses say their job gives them an opportunity to re-establish their patient-focused medicine skills. Qualities that a good travel nurse should embody are a zest for adventure, a strong work ethic, confidence in their medical knowledge, and a gregarious personality.
Travel nursing also pulls in an excellent salary. The secret is to max out your stipends (untaxed money) with a lower hourly rate (taxed money), which puts more money in your pocket. Travel nurses also make friends all over the country.
What Is Travel Nursing & How Does It Work?
- Travel nursing is a career in which you are a nurse who works away from home.
- Travel nursing usually consists of traveling to different states to work as a nurse. Instead of being a staff nurse at a hospital, you work 50+ miles away.
- Look at it as freelancing. You work at different companies for different lengths of time.
- Travel nursing started due to a shortage of registered nurses in various parts of the country. Travel nurses are usually hired through a staffing agency for a specific location for a certain number of months.
- Although assignments lengths can vary, the typical travel nursing assignment lasts about 13 weeks. After an assignment is over, you may be asked to renew your contract and sign up for another 13 weeks, or your assignment might just end. At that time, you can take another travel assignment somewhere else in the country or go back home.
Why Travel Nursing?
Are you having trouble deciding where to take your travel nursing career? Here are a few benefits of travel nursing to help you determine whether travel nursing is a smart career choice for you. If you’re a visual learner and love notes, this is the time to grab your notebook/journal and jot down some ideas. Alternatively, divide your notebook into a pros and cons list.
Travel nurse contracts vary in length, location, and position. You can choose according to your preferences. You can test the waters and go for an 8-week contract. Taking time off work? No problem. Travel nursing allows you to pick your start dates and request specific dates off work. If you need time off during specific days, you can arrange those dates in your contract so it works around your personal time. I traveled for 7 months, extended for 1 month, and took a 3- month hiatus to focus on personal pursuits like Cup of Nurses.
Travel nurses generally make a bit more than a staff nurse. This is especially true if you’re willing to go to a ‘less desirable’ location. Don’t be afraid of this. Some of the best experiences are those you never expect. Rapid-response travel nurses may make more. Crisis contracts are usually 8 weeks but pay only about 20-30 percent more than a traditional nurse traveler. Strike nursing is also a travel option that pays at or above $75 per hour.
Meet new people
Travel nurses have the opportunity to meet people and make friends from all walks of life while traveling. This is one of the benefits that travel nurses talk most about. Some travel nurses remain life-long friends. As travelers say, people who love to travel develop special friendships.
It is wonderful to be able to live like a local for 13 weeks and experience a place that’s on your bucket list. I checked off a few items on my bucket list while taking a contract in San Diego, CA. Travel nurses don’t just get to visit a new place – they experience it. Talk about culture shock! You can experience new pockets of communities every 13 weeks if you choose to. Just within my two contracts, I’ve realized just how different Los Angeles people are from people living in San Diego.
Expand your Nursing Skills
New units force you to develop new nursing skills, which makes you a more versatile nurse. Just by working in different ICUs I’ve realized how different a unit can be run by different intensivists. By working in various environments with different processes, equipment, etc. you will expand your nursing skills. You’ll develop disability and critical thinking skills on the go. Floating is also something you might experience, so you can note on your resume that you can work in multiple units.
Who wouldn’t want to be a travel nurse?
Not every person who comes out of a nursing program can be a travel nurse.
When you’re considering a life as a travel nurse, you have to ask yourself if you really like to travel. The life of a travel nurse is serious, hardcore traveling. Travel nurses are constantly on the move, going from one state to another, taking assignment after assignment.
Bear in mind that travel nurses are working. This is not an extended family vacation. They aren’t backpacking across Europe. While they’re on assignment, travel nurses are on a schedule. They are expected to report to work, on time, at the beginning of each one of their shifts. While they are working, they are dealing with sick and injured people. They are expected to give one hundred and ten percent of themselves every day.
Do you have an easy time making new friends? Travel nurses are constantly going to cities and towns where they are strangers. They don’t know anyone in these places. For their experience to be positive, they have to have a talent for turning complete strangers into close friends. You will challenge yourself and your comfort zone quite frequently.
Our Travel Nursing Experience
Nurses that have a significant other may have a hard time adjusting to life as a travel nurse unless their significant other can travel from one location to another to visit. One circumstance when travel nursing does work when a couple decides to work in tandem and finds nursing assignments in the same hospitals and medical facilities.
Before you sign with a nursing agency, decide if you can tolerate moving away from your family, friends, and pets. Working as a travel nurse requires you to spend several months away from home.
Carefully consider all the requirements and responsibilities expected from a travel nurse before you sign with a nursing agency. Qualities of a good travel nurse include a zest for adventure, a strong work ethic, confidence in their medical knowledge, and a gregarious personality. If you’re a nurse with at least one year of experience working in a hospital and feel that you’d be an excellent travel nurse, start placing your application!