Do The Rewards of Travel Nursing Outweigh Its Cons?

Nursing can be a rewarding and satisfying career, regardless of the specific field of healthcare you focus on.

At the moment, more people are considering the perks and pitfalls of working as a travel nurse, rather than being based at a single hospital or clinic. The question is whether taking the plunge and training to be a travel nurse is worthwhile, or whether the downsides make it difficult to recommend.

Becoming a travel nurse

Before you can secure travel nurse jobs, you need to train and qualify as a registered nurse, meaning a degree-level education is a requirement.

Once you are fully accredited and ready to rumble, you will need to consider that this is a competitive part of the healthcare industry, and so positions are not as easy to snag as other types of nursing jobs.

This is why it is worth taking your preparations to the next level, both in terms of the education you undertake and the experience you accrue. Specializing during your studies, perhaps to provide ER-focused nursing, is helpful.

Likewise, you might want to spend a year or two working as a nurse in one place, so that you can add details of the experience you have gained to your resume when applying for travel nurse positions.

Appreciating the salary advantages & other benefits

The purpose of a travel nurse is to step in and fill roles in hospitals that cannot be plugged by the permanent team members. For this reason, they are highly valued and their pay reflects this, meaning that average earnings are above what fixed position nursing staff can expect to receive.

On top of the appeal of the pay, travel nurses will also be eligible for benefits as part of their roles which are unique. For example, you can expect that employers will provide a stipend to cover living expenses while you are on the road, meaning that things like food, accommodation, and transport costs will be partly or wholly encompassed within your remuneration.

From a purely financial perspective, it makes sense to become a travel nurse, so long as the rest of the job suits your lifestyle and living arrangements.

Choice is not always part of the job

The money may be good, but travel nurses do not have the luxury of picking exactly where they are assigned to. You might dream of ending up in some sun- soaked hospital on the west coast, only to find that the only work available is in a chilly northern state instead.

This lack of choice and the inconsistency of the locations where travel nurses visit will not sit right with some people. For others, this will be a selling point, adding a sense of adventure to the job which prevents the boredom of the same daily routine from setting in.

Developing many different skills will expand your horizons

This is arguably the most important positive aspect of becoming a travel nurse, since it is a form of employment that necessarily requires you to adapt and learn fresh skills all the time.

What is more, these skills are not all going to be related to nursing. You will become an expert at everything from making new friends and forging new professional relationships quickly, as well as encompassing new challenges rather than being overwhelmed by the prospect of change.

These skills and many more will be applicable not just elsewhere in the healthcare industry, but in any other career path or social situation that life throws at you.

In short, being a travel nurse is a great way of working on all the soft skills that other employers will value greatly. So, this is really a pursuit that will broaden the opportunities available to you in the future, rather than narrowing them.

Maintaining friendships and family connections is tougher

There is no getting around the fact that travel nurses have to travel for work a lot, which takes them away from friends and family members for protracted periods.

Maintaining these relationships long-distance has become easier in recent years, thanks to the technologies which keep us connected no matter where we are. However, some people will find that the feelings of independence and freedom are eclipsed by the sense of isolation and loneliness that might creep in when you are hundreds or thousands of miles away from those who know you best.

Again, it all comes down to your personality. If you can get on with new people in new places in no time flat, and you don’t mind long-distance relationship maintenance, then this is not a concern.

Demand for travel nurses is stronger than ever

While we touched on just how competitive this profession can be, the upside at the moment is that travel nursing specialists are required in lots of places across the country and the world. This ensures a level of job security that might not normally be associated with a job that involves so much travelling.

While the ongoing global pandemic is partly responsible for this state of affairs, it is worth noting that there was already a growing demand for travel nurses prior to this, with nurse shortages necessitating the emergence of a more geographically fluid workforce.

So if you were concerned that a job as a travel nurse would be unstable, this could not be further from the truth.

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