On the Road: Everything You Need to Know About Traveling Nurses

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Believe it or not, traveling nurses were recently being offered as much as $8,000 per week!

Not every travel nurse makes this kind of money, but registered nurses throughout the country are beginning to take a look at the benefits of travel nursing. It gives them money, flexibility, and experience they can take with them anywhere.

What is a travel nurse, and what do you need to know about travel nurse jobs?

Let’s take a look.

What Is a Travel Nurse?

Unlike nurses who work in permanent locations, travel nurses are assigned short-term roles in healthcare facilities and hospitals.

Standard travel nursing assignments last around 13 weeks. However, assignments can be longer or shorter.

When your contract is renewed, it is known as an extension assignment. The extensions can last from three to five weeks. Temporary assignments can become permanent if everyone is happy with the arrangement.

A travel nurse may go to a high-need area, where they will administer care and medications. They will collaborate with other healthcare professionals to come up with plans for patient care, and be responsible for keeping accurate records. 

Like all nursing professionals, travel nurses need to be empathetic and able to work with a team. There is a strong need for those who specialize in medical areas such as neonatal, anesthesia, or pain management. 

You’ll need to be licensed in the state you travel to in order to practice medicine there. Multi-state licensures are available through the Nurse Licensure Compact

Because of the recent pandemic, many areas are looking for nurses who can fill in and do a good job. The benefits of taking these kinds of positions are quite favorable to nurses looking to advance their careers.

What Are the Benefits of Travel Nursing?

Travel nurses are generally paid higher than other nurses. This is because they are filling short-term needs and serving areas where there are severe nursing shortages. Travel nurses will make even more if they have a specialty or put in overtime.

The job of a travel nurse is also appealing to some because of its variety. Working in the same place can become draining after a while, especially if you are dealing with a lot of workplace politics.

Becoming a travel nurse allows you to see plenty of parts of the country, which can be quite appealing to those who get bored easily. You can also get experience working in different types of environments, such as hospitals or smaller health clinics. As your career advances, you’ll have skills you can transfer to new types of work situations.

Many individuals also enjoy the flexibility of travel nursing. For example, you may be able to take long weekends or have extended time off between assignments.   

Another positive of traveling is that you will enjoy excellent job security. Travel nurses are always in demand, and you will never have to worry about being out of work.

Depending upon your assignment, you may enjoy other perks as well. For example, you may have your housing or food paid for. Or certain assignments may offer hospital bonuses.

Whether you’re looking for a change of scenery or improved pay, working as a travel nurse can be an excellent move that will benefit both your wallet and your resume.

What Should Traveling Nurses Know Before They Go?

Becoming a travel nurse can be an incredibly rewarding experience. However, there are some things you should be aware of before making the switch.

For example, while the pay is great, not all travel nurse gigs come with full benefits. If your company doesn’t offer things like health insurance or a 401(k), find out where their nurses go for these benefits and plan to budget accordingly.

Similarly, you’ll need to save to plan for time off. If you’re being paid per assignment, make sure you’ve got enough to cover the weeks when you aren’t working.

Travel can be exciting and adventurous. However, you’ll want to think through the logistical concerns of where you’ll be living.

For example, if you’re moving somewhere with unfamiliar weather, you’ll need to pack accordingly. If you aren’t sure what to expect, are there stores nearby where you can get some basic clothing items? Will you be able to do your grocery shopping and get to work in a reasonable amount of time from the place where you plan on living? 

You’ll need to think about what your hours will be like. How do you plan on spending your unscheduled time? 

It can help to choose an area where you already know some friends or extended family, especially on your first assignment. Talk to other travel nurses in the area and see what they recommend for activities and restaurants.

If possible, travel to the area before accepting an assignment. You may not like the housing arrangements suggested by your hospital. Check out other options where you can use your stipend and still be quite comfortable for a few months.

Wherever you go, show up on time, have a positive attitude, and look forward to an adventure!

Moving On

Traveling nurses experience the best of many worlds when they work. They can learn new skills while exploring a different neighborhood and making new friends. With the right agency and the right assignments, you could be making money and loving what you do in no time.

Don’t stop getting smart about your career as a travel nurse now. For more information on working as a travel nursing professional, contact us today. 

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