Do you love that first day of a new job? Getting to know new colleagues? The thought of moving every few months to a new city? Navigating a new department? Some of you are jumping in your seat – “pick me, pick me!” Others are no doubt hiding under the seat, cringing at the thought of all this uncertainty and change.
To be a travel nurse, or not to be a travel nurse? This question depends on personality, priorities, and place in life. But what exactly is it and how do you weigh up the options?
What is travel nursing?
Travel nurses are hired to work in a particular facility for a limited period. They move from place to place, working short contracts of typically 13 weeks (though they may be as short as 4 weeks and as long as 26). Travel nurses typically have 1.5 years of experience in a clinical setting and one year within their specialty before becoming a traveller. Then the options open up!
The abundance of travel nursing assignments available really speaks to the current crisis is healthcare staffing in the United States.
“Travel nursing is one of the fastest growing segments of temporary staff.”
It’s estimated that supplemental staffing makes up more than 30% of total nursing hours (Health Care Management Review). These numbers are growing! In fact, travel nursing is one of the fastest growing segments of temporary staffing (Nursing Economics). Will you be part of the trend?
Benefits of travel nursing
The thrill of travel is perhaps travel nursing’s greatest appeal. Travel nurses discover new places and can test them out to see where they may want to live long term – totally commitment-free. Windy City a bit too windy for you? See ya!
The other major advantage is pay. Packages differ in their composition, but travel nurses usually make more than a facility’s full-time permanent staff. Travel and living expenses are often included with the job, as well as extension bonuses and benefits. This means money in the bank. Cha-ching!
“Travel nurses usually make more than a facility’s full-time permanent staff.”
Other advantages include taking time off when you want – albeit unpaid – and travelling with the seasons. It could be your chance to say goodbye to winter FOREVER or make the most of ski season. Finally, travel nursing allows you to greatly expand your skills and experience. After a few assignments, your breadth of practice looks attractive on a resume, even when applying for permanent work.
Challenges of travel nursing
So what are the downsides? Well, for one, all this moving can sometimes make it challenging to maintaining relationships. Some nurses certainly travel with partners, other nurses, pets, and even kids! But these commitments do make travelling a bit more complicated.
“You’re a bit like a guest in their house. Gotta follow along.”
Perhaps the biggest challenge is that you might always feel like the new recruit. You will be constantly navigating unfamiliar hospital settings, managing new co-worker relationships, and asking where things are. “Why do they always hide the dressing scissors?!” Every unit has its own rules, procedures, and politics and you’re a bit like a guest in their house. Gotta follow along.
If you’re someone who loves to push themselves and are adaptable to different context, these challenges may not seem like challenges at all, but exciting opportunities for growth.
Finding a travel job and then finding a travel job and then…
Because of the short-term nature of travel nurse assignments, you will be constantly on the hunt for the next exciting opportunity – a job within your specialty in a city you’ve always wanted to discover. In this context, you want to make sure your job search platform is doing the work for you, so you can spend those days off exploring the city – or sleeping! – not scanning social media or job boards. You’ll also want to make sure you have an awesome relationship with your recruiter.
“Make sure your job search platform is doing the work for you.”
HealthcareWings allows you to set up tailored job alerts within your specialty, desired location and interests. The platform gets to know you and delivers super smart matches right to your inbox. With over 2,000 new healthcare jobs each day, you may be flooded with exciting opportunities and possibilities for adventure. Where will you go next?!