Are You Ready to Travel Again or do You Need More Time?
Some people just keep going and going. They’re marathoners! They’ll run the race for as long as they can, until they just can’t go anymore. Others are sprinters — they go for quick spurts and give it their all, and they need time to rest between races. It’s much the same for travel nurses. When it comes to taking assignments, are you a marathoner or a sprinter? There’s no wrong answer, but you need to understand yourself and your tendencies to avoid burnout.
Travel nursing can take a lot out of you. Not only are you working a demanding job as a nurse — which can come with long hours, stress, and lots of brain power — you’re also packing, moving to a new city or state, and getting your bearings in an unfamiliar place. It’s a lot to digest!
The nice thing about travel nursing is that it gives nurses the freedom to choose whether they want to take an assignment right away or if they need a short break to rest and recharge. You even have the option to take a vacation or an extended break from work if you need.
Why might you need a break?
Taking a break after an assignment isn’t a bad thing. It could be necessary for your emotional and physical health, or for another reason entirely. Every nurse and their reasons are different.
If you have a family or partner at home, you might want a break just to spend time with him or her — especially if recent assignments took you far from home. It’s important to strengthen your relationships to maintain a good support system.
You also might feel weary from traveling and need some time to stay grounded in one place for a while. Resting between assignments can help reduce feelings of burnout and provide you with a refreshed perspective that makes the next assignment better than ever.
Some travel nurses take a break for professional reasons, too. If you can’t find an assignment that’s calling to you, a break might be necessary until you find one that makes you excited to go to work. Some people even take an extended break to go back to school and get new credentials that give them a leg up in their careers.
If you think a break is in order, plan ahead by budgeting and having a general idea of when you’ll return to work to make the transition as seamless as possible.
Back-to-back assignments can be great, too
Not all travel nurses will need or want a break, though – and that’s fine. You might prefer to stay busy and take multiple assignments in a row to maximize your job experience and income. This can be a great strategy if you have personal and professional benchmarks you’d like to hit or if you’re working on developing a new set of skills.
Taking new assignments right away also might allow you to take advantage of more travel opportunities in a short amount of time. Whatever your reason, if you feel ready, you’re ready!
In general, it’s important for all nurses to evaluate their lives after an assignment and decide whether to jump to the next one or take a break. Communicate your plans with your agency’s recruiter, so they can help you find a new assignment as soon as you’re ready.