Near or Far? A Look at Accepting Assignments Close to Home and Far Away
There’s no telling where travel nursing might take you. For some nurses, it’s a new city every 13 weeks, destination after destination. For other nurses, it’s more predictable — assignments in a certain city whenever the need arises. Distance matters to a lot of travel nurses, and it can dictate what kinds of assignments pique your curiosity.
Are you someone who wants to stay relatively close to home or does a sense of duty and adventure pull you to new and exciting assignments in places you’ve never been?
Travel nursing gives you the freedom to choose
One of the biggest benefits of travel nursing is right in the name — the travel! But more importantly, working as a travel nurse gives you the freedom to choose your own opportunities.
Available assignments might vary based on demand for nurses with your qualifications, high census numbers, or even major events like natural disasters. No matter what your preference is, near or far, travel nursing allows you to choose among those available opportunities.
Benefits of staying close to home
Although travel nursing opens up a world of opportunities, many travel nurses like to stay close to home. This is perfectly normal and can offer many benefits, especially for first-time travel nurses.
- Stay close to loved ones. Choosing to work an assignment close to home means you don’t have to stray far from your family and friends. This can help curb feelings of homesickness.
- Visit home easily. Want to catch up with friends over coffee or visit your parents? When you’re close to home, you can do so with just a short drive — no lengthy plane ride or road trips necessary.
- Be in a familiar place. Working in a city or state that’s familiar to you can provide an added sense of comfort while you’re adjusting to a new facility and coworkers.
- There’s no culture clash. Moving to a new place with different customs or ideals can cause a little “culture shock.” While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it is an adjustment. Staying closer to home minimizes this feeling, making it easier to focus on work.
If you do stay close to home, you might hear of the “50-mile rule.” Some agencies or hospitals might say that you must work 50 miles away from your permanent home to qualify for tax-free housing reimbursements or to work at a facility at all. Really, you are only eligible for tax-free stipends if you live away from your permanent home and pay living costs for a second residence. Speak with your recruiter to learn more about the rules and laws around housing reimbursements and when you qualify.
Benefits of traveling farther away
There are a ton of benefits of traveling far from home for an assignment, too.
- Get out of your comfort zone. Many travel nurses love their jobs because they are constantly challenged by their work. Moving to a new place helps you get out of your comfort zone and become more comfortable with change.
- See a new place. Travel nursing is one of the few jobs where you get paid to travel! If there’s a city, state, or region you’ve always wanted to see, taking an assignment there allows you to have those experiences.
- Break up monotony. If you’re feeling bored in your hometown and need to shake things up, a short assignment in a new place can feel like a breath of fresh air.
- Have chances to grow. Traveling on assignment can help you push yourself both personally and professionally, giving you opportunities to learn and grow.
If you’re preparing for your first — or your twentieth — assignment, think carefully about the opportunities available to you.