What Is Travel Nursing Like?

Imagine you’ve made the leap and become a travel nurse. You’ve worked with a recruiter and he or she has helped land your first travel assignment. Now what? This video explains what you can expect as a traveler, as well as the benefits you can look forward to.

What Is Travel Nursing Like?

Travel nursing embraces flexibility, adventure, and higher pay while avoiding the drama of internal politics. As a traveler, you will be walking into a new unit that likely operates in a different way than you are used to—and with limited orientation.

Healthcare facilities want travel nurses who are open to new methods and procedures. No two facilities are the same, nor do they operate in the same way. Simply put, you need to be flexible.

Hospitals are typically beholden to some level of guaranteed hours for travel nurses. In order to meet these guarantees, floating to units in which you are qualified to work is often a requirement for travelers.

A draw for many to travel nursing is the opportunity to distance one’s self from hospital politics. Because your stay at any one facility is limited, you have the unique ability to remove yourself from the internal cliques of a hospital.

Simply put, travel nursing allows you to serve others and explore new regions while earning higher compensation.

Learn more about life as a travel nurse with the Travel Nurse Academy from Health Carousel Travel Nursing.

Do you want to be a travel nurse? Get in touch with our travel nurse recruiters today!

Testimonials of Great Travel Nursing Experiences

Let’s review some key aspects of travel nursing, how the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed nursing, and the future of travel nursing.

What Inspired You To Become A Nurse?

Becoming a registered nurse is no small feat. After obtaining your nursing degree, you have to take your nursing boards and find a nursing job. It takes self-motivation and determination to succeed in the nursing world. So what inspires people to become nurses?

Almost every person who pursues a career in nursing is inspired by helping and caring for others in a time of need. Oftentimes, they are inspired and driven by their own stories involving health challenges and disparities. Nurses are educators and advocates for public health and quality patient care. They care about the communities and patients they serve, which in turn, gives them the inspiration to succeed and feelings of reward. 

Why Choose Travel Nursing?

Many permanent staff nurses choose to join the travel nursing industry at some point in their nursing careers. It can be a life-long or short-term career commitment. They often start travel nursing to gain nursing experience and learn new technical skills, all while getting to travel the country. Besides gaining experience, you also get to meet new people, work at different hospitals, and grow your professional network. View our travel nurse jobs.

Travel nursing is a great option for those who like to travel and have flexible schedules. Many travel nurses take several weeks off between travel assignments. However, this is typically unpaid, unless your travel nursing agency offers paid time off (PTO) accrual. 

Things You Can Ask for as a new Travel Nurse

There are several things you can ask for as a new travel nurse before starting your travel career in healthcare. First, write a list of needs and wants in your travel nursing assignment. Look around at different travel nurse jobs and review travel nursing tips. Oftentimes, travel nursing content websites and blogs offer vast amounts of information. Research your desired location and its surrounding healthcare systems. 

Once you’ve completed your research, it’s time to speak with a recruiter. Discuss your specialty, and desired locations, and pay to help your recruiter match you with open travel assignments. Once your recruiter matches you with a job at a healthcare facility, ask about your interview. Your recruiter will prepare you with what to expect and any questions that may arise from the nursing leaders or managers.

After you receive an offer, review your compensation package with your recruiter. Make sure you understand all of the terms before signing. Ask about travel reimbursement, completion bonuses, overtime, and guaranteed hours, as many travel nursing contracts offer these. Another important item to ask your recruiter is if the hospital has canceled any contracts recently. This may indicate if the demand for travel nurses in the area is decreasing.

How Has Nursing Transformed in the Wake of Covid Outbreak?

In addition to the demand for nurses increasing, the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed nursing and patient care. Safety and personal protective equipment (PPE) protocols have changed. Before the pandemic, nurses were wearing less PPE, such as gloves or surgical masks. Since COVID-19 is an airborne illness, nurses are now having to wear N-95 masks or respirators during their 12-hour shifts to prevent themselves from contracting the virus.

Hospital sick call-out guidelines have changed as well. If nurses or other healthcare team members experience symptoms ranging from a headache to cough or fever, they were asked to call out sick for work. This is because COVID-19 presents with different symptoms depending on the person. Sick call-out and return to work protocols continue to change based on updated Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.

In addition, nurses have had to be flexible and adapt to changing work conditions and protocols. COVID-19 treatment and safety protocols were updated frequently, and sometimes daily in the early stages of the pandemic. Many nurses are afraid to bring home COVID-19 to their friends or family members and continue practicing social distancing. This is especially true for people who have health conditions that weaken their immune systems. 

Nursing has also transformed in a more positive direction. Nurses are collaborating more across different interdisciplinary teams, specialties, and sometimes other facilities to promote quality patient care. Collaboration opens lines of communication to increase quality and effective healthcare.

What Does the Future Hold For Travel Nurses? 

The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the world of travel nursing. The demand for travel nurses was already high before the pandemic and continues to increase due to the pandemic. The average hours worked by travel nurses compared to staff nurses has increased by 23% since the pandemic began. Hospitals are experiencing nurse shortages, due to staff contracting COVID-19 or increasing needs for higher patient acuity. A large number of permanent nurses have left their job to pursue a travel nursing career. 

Many healthcare facilities continue to extend contract assignments for travel nurses, especially in high-demand areas. In other locations, contracts are being canceled and extensions are rare.

Pay rates for travel nurses rose to an all-time high during the pandemic. However, now they are starting to return to pre-pandemic numbers in some regions. Even though the demand for travel nurses has begun to slightly decrease, there are still plenty of travel nursing job openings.

How Has Your Experience Been with Health Carousel  Travel Nursing? 

Many travel nurses start their travel nurse experience with Health Carousel Travel Nursing and enjoy working with us. Our network ranges from new nurses who just started travel nursing to repeat seasoned travelers. Read why nurses love traveling with us!

Course Outline