By now you probably already know that nurses are in high demand. If you’re looking for a stable career that still allows you to experience the thrill of an escapade, you might consider becoming a traveling nurse. Because nurses are in such high demand, there are often shortages in certain areas. Traveling nurses are temporarily stationed in these areas to fill the void.
Traveling nurses enjoy the best of both worlds. The work is stable but it also offers variety. A fresh challenge and adventure comes with every new location. We talked with real traveling nurses to hear what they love about their job.
10 perks of being a travelling nurse
1. Your schedule will be flexible
Travel nursing positions vary in length of time, location and position. You can specify your positions based on your needs. Travelling from one new place to another is exciting, but it can also be draining. Flexible scheduling allows you to take a break when you need to or arrange to be near your family for important events. In many positions you can also arrange your weekly schedule for longer weekends.
2. You’ll be well-compensated
Nurses work hard and are compensated well. As a travel nurse, you have an opportunity to make even more money that your stationary counterparts. This is especially true if you have a specialty or work overtime. Certain locations will also pay more than others. This financial stability can allow you to pay off loans or start saving for a large expense like a home.
3. You’ll receive other perks
Worried about the trouble of moving over and over? You don’t have to—travel nursing agencies will find assignments for you. Many agencies will cover the costs of travel and find or provide free or reduced housing. Some will even cover meals. These perks are above and beyond the standard benefits you’ll receive such as health and dental coverage.
4. You'll get to explore what you love about nursing
You’ll need to earn your RN degree before becoming a traveling nurse. This means you will have on-the-job training under your belt, but you still may not know which specialty you’d like to pursue. Travel nursing will allow you to dabble in a variety of areas in order to help you decide which you like best. That way you’ll be confident once you decide you’re ready to settle in one place and take a permanent position.
5. You'll learn skills beyond nursing
Not only will you be able to hone your nursing skills, but you’ll develop a variety of other valuable skills also. You will encounter an assortment of different people and situations, which will force you to be adaptable, think critically and learn to communicate effectively. When applying for future nursing jobs, you’ll be able to draw upon your experiences to demonstrate these practical skills that will help you on the job.
6. You'll meet all kinds of people
Sister Jeanne Karp is a home health nurse who travels to visit homebound patients. She says that much like a travelling nurse, she meets all kinds of different patients who share their stories with her. As a travelling nurse you’ll have the opportunity to connect with people from all different walks of life, which broadens your perspective. You’ll also be able to build your network while working alongside a variety of healthcare professionals. You never know when one of those relationships will translate to a future job opportunity!
7. You’ll have job security and room for advancement
Nurses will likely remain in high demand for years to come. This nursing shortage means nurses are better compensated now than ever before, with RN’s earning a median annual salary of $65,470.* If you have plans to move up in the nursing field, your time as a travel nurse will give you a unique chance to see many sides of the nursing profession in a relatively short span of time. This will help you pinpoint the direction in which you’d like to advance.
8. You won’t have to give up the things you love
One misconception about travel nursing has been that you will be secluded while you’re on an assignment. But becoming a traveling nurse doesn’t mean leaving your life behind while you’re on the job. Kayleigh is ER travel nurse who has been placed with two other friends in three different U.S. cities thus far. Her experience is proof that the travel nurse lifestyle can be fun and adventurous without being lonely.
9. You won’t have to deal with office politics
Tension between coworkers is common in high-stress jobs like nursing. But when your assignments typically range from 8 to 12 weeks, it’s easier to avoid the drama. If you do encounter an unfavorable situation, remember that you will only be in that particular position for a short time. Use whatever methods you can to alleviate the problem, but don’t let it hinder your work—you’ll be back on the road in no time.
10. You'll get to help people who really need it
Nursing is one of those professions where you’ll directly impact people’s lives on a daily basis. It’s not an easy career, but nurses are an instrumental piece of the healthcare puzzle. Your influence as a travelling nurse will be even greater because you will likely be sent to areas that are in desperate need of help.
Adventure awaits …
Nursing is a thriving profession that allows you to help others while learning a lot about yourself. But just because you’re choosing a secure career path doesn’t mean you have to be tied down. Becoming a traveling nurse offers the best of both worlds for someone young and adventurous. You’ll also be a valuable part of the healthcare system—helping patients when they need it most.
It’s not often you have the opportunity to experience both spontaneity and security, but being a traveling nurse offers just that. Learn about the formal education that can help you reach new heights by comparing your nursing degree options: