For many nurses starting their careers, travel nursing can sound like an exciting alternative to working for a single organization. Career travel nurses get the same steady benefits as their stationary counterparts. In addition, they can learn from professionals in various regions. Nursing professionals interested in making the leap to a life on the road should also know that this career path may also lead them far from family and friends.
For some, the independence of travel nursing is exciting – for others, it can seem lonely. Some travel nurses stay on the road for their entire careers, while others only take a year or two before settling in one location. When deciding if becoming a travel nurse is right for you, weigh the pros and cons.
What it's like to be a travel nurse?
In general, travel nurses work with an agency to find temporary positions at organizations across the country. Most agencies help nurses get benefits similar to what they would recieve at a single employer. Other benefits include:
- Gaining experience: As a travel nurse, you have the opportunity to work in many healthcare facilities, which means you can learn how various organizations operate from an administrative standpoint. Additionally, you may find mentors along the way who will help you advance toward your career goals.
- Make new friends: Travelnursing.org explained that making friends around the country is an advantage of moving around. If you take on a contract in a city you've been to previously, your friends can check out apartments for you before you arrive.
- Discover new locations: Perhaps the best part of travel nursing is the travel itself. You can get paid to explore the country and visit places you might otherwise never get to see! Plus, it may be easier to get a placement in temporary positions as opposed to trying for a permanent position in a competitive city with a large medical industry.
Travel nursing cons
Travel nursing contracts can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. Moving around so much can be difficult; between contracts, the need to pack up belongings, traveling to the next location and setting up a temporary new home. It can be even harder for nurses with families. Other disadvantages may be:
- Limited time with family: Some travel nurses homeschool their children and rely on a spouse to help out with education – but for many nurses, this isn't an option.
- Workflow differences: Each organization has its own way of charting and prescribing medication. Travel Nursing Blogs explained that sometimes it can seem like you've just gotten the hang of a new system when it's time to move on to the next facility.
- Career advancement: When you're on the road, it may be difficult to advance your career to the next level, because you're constantly switching career ladders.
Travel nursing can be an exciting way to gain more nursing experience and travel at the same time. Before you take the plunge, determine for yourself if the advantages of life on the road outweigh the difficulties. For free-spirited professionals, travel nursing can be the adventure of a lifetime.