Have you ever considered becoming a travel nurse? Everyone knows they make great pay, but there are even more benefits to the role. Here are twelve reasons that you should explore being a travel nurse as your next career move.
1. EARN MORE
It’s common knowledge that travel nurses make higher hourly wages than staff nurses. This is due to nursing shortages and the continuous demand in healthcare. If you work in a specialty area or night shift, pay differentials and sign-on bonuses can contribute to your pay increase as well.
2. WEEKLY PAYROLL
Tired of waiting two weeks for every paycheck? That problem can be solved by becoming a travel nurse. Most travel nursing agencies pay their nurses every week. Just make sure your time card is submitted before their deadline.
3. BROADENING YOUR SKILLSET
Staff nurses’ skills are sometimes limited to the patient population that their unit serves. For instance, a surgical unit nurse might see only orthopedic surgery patients at their hospital. However, a surgical unit nurse at another hospital may see both orthopedic and abdominal surgery patients. As a travel nurse, you are not restricted to just one population and can see a variety of patients and procedures, while learning new on-the-job skills. This gives you the opportunity to broaden your skillset and practice your nursing critical thinking skills.
4. LICENSURE AND CONTINUING EDUCATION REIMBURSEMENT
Most travel nursing agencies will reimburse you for state licensing fees or certifications related to your nursing profession. They also help keep track of your upcoming nursing license renewals. This can include almost any license and certification required for the job, such as state licenses, basic life support (BLS), NIH Stroke Scale, etc. In addition, free continuing education courses are available to travel nurses.
5. AVOIDING WORKPLACE POLITICS
Credentialing for your next travel nursing assignment is provided by your travel nurse agency. The process may take a few weeks, but your agency can expedite this process to a few days. Most of the time, you will not face management or staffing issues. If you do, most assignments are short (3 to 12 weeks) and you will be out of the hospital politics quickly with the end in sight.
6. BETTER BENEFITS
Some travel nursing companies offer free medical and dental coverage for their nurses. This can save you hundreds of dollars each month in medical premiums. Plus, let’s not forget about the tax-free benefits such as housing and meal stipends. Many travel nursing agencies offer free housing, or free furnished housing, pay for travel expenses, and cover many common living expenses.
Many travel nurses choose their schedule, especially when compared to staff nurses. Depending on the assignment, travel nurses can arrange time off and holidays before accepting their contracts. This means that if you have a vacation planned or want a holiday off, you can make sure it happens by negotiating it in advance. In addition, it’s easy to take a couple of days or weeks off between assignments if desired.
8. TRAVEL THE COUNTRY
One of the biggest benefits of travel nursing is it allows you to travel the country and explore new places while getting paid. Traveling nurses have available assignments in all 50 states across Alaska, Hawaii, and the East and West Coast. You won’t find this opportunity with any other nursing job.
9. MEETING NEW PEOPLE
Traveling to a new city enables you to meet many new people and new friends. Most will be coworkers and fellow travel nurses. On your days off, explore your surroundings. You may meet a new friend while trying something fun.
10. FREEDOM TO PURSUE NEW INTERESTS
Since most travel nurses have job security, they have the opportunity to pursue new interests. Maybe you have always wanted to try snowboarding in the winter or learn to fly fish in the early spring. The freedom to choose your next destination allows you to pursue different interests that you may not have been able to do otherwise.
11. PROFESSIONAL NETWORKING
When you become a travel nurse, you will have the opportunity to work at a variety of hospitals in different locations across the country. This will ultimately grow your professional network and expand your nursing career. Make sure to take the time to connect with other healthcare professionals. You might need that person as a professional reference in the future, or perhaps they are a fellow travel nurse who will join you on your next assignment. Professional networking and working at different healthcare facilities can create an impressive resume or open up a future job opportunity or career path.
12. AVOIDING BURNOUT
Since most travel nursing assignments are less than 13 weeks, it is easier to avoid burnout. If you decide that you do not like your current unit or need a change in surroundings, just remember that your next assignment is only a few weeks away. You can also choose to change specialties in your next assignment (within reason of course).
Amanda Marten NP-C, MSN has been a certified nurse practitioner for over three years. With eight years of nursing experience, she has worked in a variety of specialties including urgent care, travel nursing, post-surgical, and intensive care.