5 Pros (and 5 Cons) To Consider Before Embarking on a Travel Nursing Career
When nurses contemplate the shift to travel nursing, there’s a tendency to focus on what they already know. But travel nursing is much more than simply doing the same work in a different facility every 13 weeks.
As more nurses explore the idea of a travel nursing career, it’s critical they understand the full picture and set realistic expectations. For a closer look at the benefits and challenges of travel nursing — and how to make a well-informed decision about your own career — consider the following pros and cons.
Pros of travel nursing
Every travel nursing assignment has its own unique elements, but the job itself comes with a standard set of benefits that appeal to adventurous professionals.
- Lucrative pay. One of the biggest reasons nurses choose travel nursing is because it tends to pay better. Travel nursing salaries are generally higher than those of staff nurses in permanent positions.
- Freedom to travel. Another huge benefit of travel nursing is, of course, the travel. If you’ve always wanted to explore new places and see the country, travel nursing gives you the opportunity to do so while making a living. You can take assignments in any state in which you are licensed to work.
- Control over assignments. Travel nursing agencies don’t just assign you to a facility without your input. You retain the freedom and control over what assignments you’re willing to work. Assignment availability will fluctuate, but you don’t have to work in a particular location or for a rate you don’t want.
- Diverse experiences. Some nurses don’t want to spend their careers doing the same thing at one facility. Travel nursing offers broad experiences in new locations, at various types of facilities, and with diverse patient and staff populations.
- Extensive network. While traveling, nurses meet countless new people and build a large professional network. You never know who might have an opportunity for you in the future, so these connections are key.
Cons of travel nursing
Travel nursing isn’t for everyone. Although these “cons” are just part of the job, they might be deal breakers for some nurses. Make sure to consider them before taking the leap.
- Stress of travel. Whether it’s for work or pleasure, traveling can be stressful for both mind and body. Moving every 13 weeks is difficult for nurses who prefer to settle down.
- Less welcoming facilities. Not all facilities are created equal. At some facilities, you might find staff members or managers aren’t as inviting as at others.
- Tax and license considerations. Travel nursing isn’t as simple as setting off to work in a new place. Nurses must be licensed in the state they want to work in. You also need to consider tax complications and how travel stipends will affect your income.
- Family strain. Travel nurses are away from home for extended periods of time. This can strain familial, romantic, and platonic relationships.
- Varied pay rates. Travel nursing contracts don’t pay the same across the board. Qualifications, locations, and shifts can affect how much you’re paid on a given assignment. You may earn more on one assignment and less on the next.
Take time to weigh the ups and downs of the job. If you find the pros outweigh the cons, get ready to take the next step on your travel nursing journey.