By: Alison Radcliffe
So while I’ve already previously written about how great being a Traveling Nurse is and provided you with the statistics surrounding the position, I’d like to expand just a bit further and give the top five reasons why you should really consider this wonderful profession.
See New Places, Meet New People
As a traveling nurse, you have the opportunity to try out a new city every couple of months. Some nurses refer to their travel nursing careers as a ‘working vacation’. Nurses are able to work their shifts each week – most nurses work three 12-hour shifts or four 10-hour shifts per week –and then site see around the new city on their days off or on their long weekends! There are few career opportunities out there where one can see the country and travel, all while earning an income and fulfilling professional goals.
Many travel nurses have the option to extend their contracts to meet hospital needs. So, if someone loves the area they’re in and they aren’t ready to leave, they can stay longer! Travel nursing also creates a great opportunity to meet new people. Many hospitals use travel nurses consistently throughout the year, which creates the opportunity to meet other travel nurses. If a nurse is traveling alone, this is a great way to network and create some long lasting friendships across the country with people who have similar interests!
Make More Money
There are many financial perks to travel nursing. One of the great benefits to being a traveling professional is that, if you meet the qualifications (which most do as long as you maintain a permanent tax home), you are eligible to receive tax free benefits from your travel nursing agency. These benefits can include daily meals and incidental per diems; tax free housing in the form of a furnished one bedroom apartment or tax free daily lodging per diems; tax free travel reimbursement, and much more. The great thing about tax free benefits is that you can potentially take home more money after taxes than you would in a permanent, non-traveling position. Also, some hospitals or agencies will offer travel nurses higher pay rates or completion bonuses for certain critical openings. On many travel assignments, the opportunity to work overtime is also available!
Travel nursing is an awesome way to gain professional experience and work in some of the nation’s top hospitals. A new work environment can expose you to a variety of skills, procedures, equipment, etc. It can also bring you a fresh perspective on nursing and allow you to grow professionally. Many travel nursing agencies work with teaching hospitals, trauma facilities, magnet facilities, and standalone children’s facilities, to name a few.
I always use one word to describe a great travel nurse: ADAPTABLE. Once a nurse has experienced travel nursing, they become much more adaptable to new experiences, new people, and new environments. Some hospitals even offer nurses the chance to cross train into different units / specialty areas if the opportunity presents itself.
Want to travel in the summer? You can as a travel nurse!
Want to guarantee that you have off for a few weeks during your favorite holiday? You can do that too as a travel nurse!
By planning your assignments to start and end around certain times of the year, you have more control over your schedule and career, giving you flexibility and peace of mind. As a travel nurse, you do not receive paid time off. However, the financial perks associated with the position and the opportunity to control your schedule, allows nurses to create their own paid time off. For example, many nurses start contracts in late September or early October in order to complete their 13 week contract before the holiday season.
Freedom from Boredom and Burnout
Do you ever get bored with the same thing you’ve been doing for years? Do you ever get tired of the hospital politics? Do you just need a change to spice up your life a little? These are great reasons to be a traveling nurse. As a travel nurse, you are typically only committed for 13 weeks at a time. If the area or the hospital is not for you, there is an end in sight and you can move onto a new adventure! You are also not typically required to attend in-services, longer orientations, or hospital-wide staff meetings. As a traveler, you get to come in, have a quick hospital / unit orientation, and then hit the ground running!