For every person who starts a new adventure as a travel nurse, another is holding back because of misconceptions he or she may have heard or come to assume along the way. Travel nursing is full of opportunities, career advancement, work-life balance, and — yes, we mean it — good pay.
Travel nurses can expect pay similar to permanent hospital staff members as well as health, vision, and dental insurance. However, they receive additional stipends for housing, meals, and incidentals. While not as common, some agencies also offer free continuing education units (CEUs). In addition, your agency can arrange your housing and assist with upfront housing costs such as deposits. And if you let your agency know prior to your assignment, they can often work with you to find pet- and family-friendly housing.
We addressed this in myth one, but you don’t need to be single to be a travel nurse. Your agency can accommodate you by finding housing with more rooms if your family or significant other is traveling with you. If you have children, online public school can keep your kids in a stable learning environment while experiencing the benefits of traveling. Alternatively, many travel nurses are parents working in regions close to home so they can easily visit their families and friends on their days off.
Since the typical travel assignment lasts about 13 weeks, it might seem like an unstable career choice. But travel nurses working through staffing agencies have a variety of opportunities that are unavailable to permanent nurses. Your recruiter is like a career coach, diligently working to keep you on assignment. You choose your placement. As an added bonus, you also control how much time you want to take off for vacation in between assignments.
It wouldn’t be much of an adventure if you didn’t have a say in where you were going. Of course, available positions can dictate your options, but you always have the final say on your assignments. You can choose to stay in your own state or even region if you need to be close to family, or you can choose a different state for every assignment. In addition, your agency can take care of your housing needs or you can choose to take the reins, opting for stipend pay and more control.
While big cities tend to have more facilities in need of nurses, travel assignments can be from anywhere. The nursing shortage isn’t going away anytime soon, and rural hospitals are definitely feeling the pinch as young locals move away for the benefits of big cities. So if you’re looking for a chance to get out of the big city and slow down with the country life, you have options as a travel nurse.
If you were running short on staff and you got a reinforcement, would you dislike her or him? Hardly. Although all hospitals are different, travel nurses are usually welcomed with open arms because they’re taking some of the stress off the permanent staff. Don’t let bad experiences or horror stories deter you from your desired career path — and meeting new people.
Actually, you can! This is a big help to you, your agency, and the hospital. When you get to stay longer on an assignment you like, your agency doesn’t have to worry about moving you to a new position and the hospital keeps an amazing nurse for the duration of your extension! If a position isn’t available in your current hospital, a nearby location may be looking for a travel nurse, so you have options.
Travel nursing offers a variety of great opportunities for nurses, whether it’s the chance to explore a new place or experience new work environments. Don’t let the myths scare you; take control of your career path and enjoy the many benefits travel nursing has to offer.