The Pros and Cons of Travel Nursing

Combine your love of travel and a great career. With contracts typically lasting one to a few years, travel nurses get the chance to live in, and experience different parts of the world, traveling and doing what they love most. With this global pandemic, more and more nurses are considering going into travel nursing to help in the areas that need it the most. Before diving into a travel nurse career, you should first learn about the pros and cons of trave nursing.

What Is A Travel Nurse?

Travel nurses are registered nurses, employed by an independent nursing staffing agency, who work in short-term roles at healthcare facilities around the world. Travel nurses help fill the gaps in areas where there are nursing shortages. Travel nursing took root when the nursing field faced a nationwide shortage. In order to attract nurses to the open positions, employers offered high pay, covered housing costs, and relocation expenses. Becoming a travel nurse is an excellent opportunity to see the country, advance your career, and make a difference.

Travel Nurse Qualifications

The first step to becoming a travel nurse is earning an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing. After completion of an accredited nursing program, completion of the NCLEX-RN exam is required for licensure. You may also need to get additional licensure in the state that you will be working. Travel nurse assignments typically last about 13 weeks, at which time the travel nurse is free to accept another position or get an extention on their current contract.

Pros and Cons of Travel Nursing

Thinking about a career as a traveling nurse, but aren’t sure it’s for you? There are a lot of perks, but there are some negatives as well….and some parts of the job belong on both lists, because one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Confused? Don’t worry, you’ll see.

Pros of Travel Nursing 

Many nurses typically choose this career due to the various perks it provides, as well as the ability to gain experience working in different parts of the world. Advantages of travel nursing includes the freedom to travel and experience new cities, towns, and organizations, all while getting paid well and having the opportunity to network and create relationships that could potentially advance their career.

The Travel

Obvious? Maybe. But have you stopped to think about all that travel has to offer? You choose what assignments to accept and where to go. It’s a great way to try Boston clam chowder in Boston and visit all the historic sights…maybe ride that silly duck tour. Or accept an assignment in Cincinnati in the fall to catch a few Bengals games….or the Yankees in NY.

If sports aren’t your thing, maybe you’d like to dip into history and visit Washington D.C. and colonial Williamsburg. Or follow the warmth and hop from coast to coast for the beaches.

The Money

A travel nurse salary nearly always pays more per assignment than a permanent position, but the money adds up in other ways as well. All your expenses are paid. So not only do you pocket a more than competitive salary and often an attractive bonus package, you aren’t paying all those bills that would normally come out of your salary.

The Networking

Your average nurses in the trenches can’t meet and impress the sheer number of doctors, administrators, and other nurses. The advantage of networking is simple. Employability.  The more contacts you have, the more likely you are to get a job when you decide to settle down. Put your best foot forward and people will remember you.

The Freedom

You’re in control of your own career. Once in a while, you’ll land a bad assignment. But it’s only for a few weeks…and then you move on. You’re able to explore these difference travel nursing specialties and later decide which one if right for you. If it’s really bad, you never have to go back. Few people have that kind of career freedom.

Cons of Travel Nursing 

While there are various perks to working in this flexible field, there are still a handful of disadvantages of being a travel nurse. The temporary nature of travel nursing positions also means that you may not always be sure where or when your next assignment will be. Being placed on new assignments every few months also means that you’ll always be the new guy, which can be difficult if you don’t adapt well.

The Travel

What? Wasn’t that on the pro list? It was. But travel can be stressful, and some people simply can’t conceive of leaving home and going from place to place. Today’s travel nurses, armed with iPads and face-to-face chats with friends and family, are much more connected than nurses from a decade ago, but it can still be lonely on the road. The good news: you can usually bring your pets, your spouse, your kids if they’re out of school, or a friend who needs a vacation. Sometimes you have to share accommodations, but as long as you’re up front about what you want, you can choose to take your living allowance and find your own place.

New Situations

You know your job, but you’re walking in to a new working environment every few months, and it will not always be comfortable at first. You have to be adaptable and you have to be able to fit in, no matter where you land. You also have to have the ability to hit the ground running.

Opportunities Lost

This depends heavily on your goals. If the endgame is to put down roots and move up the career ladder, then the answer is balance. Travel nursing looks great on a resume and gives you networking advantages you would not get otherwise. When the perfect opportunity knocks…a plum permanent assignment at a place you love in a location that suits you…you have to know it when you see it.

Ready To Start Your Career As A Travel Nurse?

If you love exploring new cities, travel nursing could be a great career option for you. Before diving into the field, make sure to take a few minutes to reflect on how each pro and con may impact you. This field requires travel nurses to be adaptable and spontaneous and that’s not always a comfortable feeling; luckily there are plenty of travel nursing tips that can help ease those concerns. With that said, we now have face-to-face technology to see family and the option to bring a spouse or friend along. A new environment, higher pay, and untold chances to grow your career await you as a travel nurse.

If you’re ready to make a difference in patients’ lives, while seeing the world, and earning a terrific salary along the way, then Search Travel Nursing Jobs today!

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