The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are more than 2.7 million registered nurses working around the country. However, the demand for nurses is on the rise, and many facilities are dealing with nursing shortages. Travel nurses are professionals who travel around the country to meet this demand on a short-term basis. There are many benefits to becoming a travel nurse, but you should be aware of all the pros and cons before making your decision.
Travel nurses typically have assignments lasting thirteen weeks. While this is long enough to make new friends, it’s not long enough to get pulled into the office politics that plague businesses and medical facilities alike. While you may witness the various dynamics and come to understand the politics behind them, you can avoid most of the political drama.
See New Areas
As a travel nurse, you have an opportunity to travel around the country. Go to Hawaii to help another hospital and enjoy some sightseeing and the fantastic beaches while you are there. If you live in the snowy north, then you can travel to warmer climates when the weather turns bad. If you have friends and family scattered throughout the nation, you could choose a location where you can visit with them during your assignment.
Pay is higher because there is more stress for a travel nurse. Some agencies offer bonuses for completing contracts and referring friends. You can also write off many of your business-related expenses, and that helps lower your tax liability.
It Looks Great on the Resume
Being a travel nurse exposes you to different people, problems, situations and opportunities. You can hone skills that might otherwise go unused. The experience looks fantastic on your resume, and that can help you advance your career when you’re ready to stay in one place.
Advancement Can Be Challenging
Travel nurses have a variety of skills and experience on their resume, but moving up the corporate ladder is a challenge when you are not settled to one place. If your goal is to become a managing nurse, then perhaps a career as a travel nurse is not for you.
Hospitals hire travel nurses because they need someone highly skilled and experienced who can hit the ground running and won’t require additional training. They look for nurses with key specialties, and they look for people who have at least two years of nursing experience. If you are a new grad, this opportunity probably won’t be available to you. However, you can keep this type of position in mind as you gain the experience and improve your skills.
Leaving New Friends
It’s exciting to make new friends, but the travel nurse will eventually say farewell and move on to another assignment. It can be a lonely career because you aren’t close to your existing friends, and you don’t get much time with your new friends. It’s important to have a good support network if you choose this type of position.
Living out of Hotels
Traveling around the country is exciting, but always living out of hotels and temporary furnished apartments can become tedious. It’s hard to put roots down and really start to feel at home when your home changes every three months.
There are some great benefits to being a travel nurse, but you should weigh them against the disadvantages before making a decision. While it is the right career for some, it won’t be the right choice for everybody. Consider what you want in your career and what this position has to offer you before making a decision.
Eryn Greene is an avid healthcare blogger. Looking to advance your nursing career? Consider the online RN to MSN degree from USF.