Travel nursing continues to grow in its popularity. For many, working while seeing the country is attractive enough. Meanwhile, others are not convinced- particularly in the midst of a global pandemic. However, there are several benefits- beyond the travel aspect- for giving travel nursing a shot.
Travel nursing is more than just travel
When you think of travel, you probably think of sightseeing and absorbing a new city. While that is true, there is far more to it. When you travel, your career no longer dictated by your local economy. If you are a nurse in a rural area, where opportunities are scarce or underpaid, travel opens a myriad of other placements. Additionally, travel nurses typically work with an agency. If for any reason, your position becomes redundant, you can simply reach out to your recruiter who will immediately source a new position for you.
Nursing specialties at your fingertips
Are you hearing the call to a specific nursing specialty? Is said specialty not readily available in your area but is in others? Travel nursing can help you overcome this career hurdle. For example, if you are called to pediatrics, but live in an area with an elderly population, talk to your recruiter about cities with young families. Or, if are looking to specialize in trauma, a larger city may provide more opportunities than a rural one. When you are a travel nurse, you have the flexibility to choose assignments that will provide valuable experience in your desired specialty. As we all know, more experience usually means more opportunities.
The consistency of change
While this may seem less like a “pro” and more like a “con” to some, it really can be a huge benefit. In travel nursing, you typically work multiple short assignments throughout the year. Different facilities have different leaders (thus, leadership styles) and different processes. Adapting to these changes can only help you grow as a nurse and make you more attractive to your next employer. Most employers will select a resume with flexibility and agility over the “well, I’ve always done it this way,” candidate.
Culture diversity at your fingertips
Many travel nurses tend to stay within their own country. With that being said, the experience of a new culture does not require leaving the country. Each organization has its own company culture. Every city / state has its own culture- as well as each region. Life in the Northeast is very different than it is in the South. Living in Georgia is very different than it is in Florida. Life in Orlando is very different than it is in Key West. Living and working in a variety of cultures is great for both professional and personal development. What better way to be a compassionate citizen and nurse than to experience the values, norms, and customs of a multitude of areas and organizations?
Specialist in solutions
Nurses have no choice but to think on their feet. However, travel nursing can often require you to take your problem solving abilities to the next level. Quite often, you are in a city alone without your network of friends and family. Whether it is an obstacle that arises during your move, when you are working to secure housing, or overcoming an issue on the floor, many times you will need to work through a problem on your own. Independent problem solving is a vital skill for the high-pressure situations nurses often face. Beyond that, it is a great skill for those who have plans of one day venturing into leadership roles.
Purveyor of plans
Can you make and execute a plan successfully? Ultimately, that’s definition of travel nursing. Being a travel nurse includes planning to work in a new city, securing a job in a new city, and effectively moving to a new city. That is multiple plans all at once. More so, you begin planning your yearly itinerary to line up positions that will continue advancing your career. If you are considering leadership, travel nursing is a great way to prepare yourself. You will feel confident navigating the processes and planning that go hand in hand with management.
Career opportunities galore
So far, we have looked at how travel nursing can provide you with more opportunities outside of your local area, as well as opportunities to gain experience in your chosen specialty. Beyond that, one of the benefits of travel nursing is the flexibility to accept the bigger, better opportunity without the stigma of “Why did you work there for only X?” While long, consistent stretches of employment are generally considered more acceptable in the traditional world, in travel nursing it is the opposite! It’s always a good idea to talk to your recruiter about your career goals so they can keep you informed on the next great opportunity.
And, of course, the salary…
We left this last on purpose. While there is great salary potential, it should not be your only determining factor when choosing travel nursing as your profession (way of life). However, it is a benefit that cannot be ignored. Although there are several factors that can determine your salary, pay packages are typically higher than those of a staff nurse. Nevertheless, it is important to understand that your package can be determined by factors such as location, the timing, and your chosen specialty.
Location: As with any job, pay rates are often determined by the cost of living in that area. Bigger cities often mean higher wages. However, rural hospitals are often in desperate need of staff and will offer generous compensation to entice candidates.
Timing: If it is hurricane season in the South or wintertime in the North, it may be a good time to look for an opportunity in those regions. Another good time to look for work is during the holiday season. The key is looking for opportunities when facilities may be experiencing staff shortages. Being available during a need will often equate to higher compensation.
Specialty: Typically, if a position is requiring someone with experience in a specific field (i.e. ICU, Oncology, O.R. etc.), pay packages can reflect the elevated requirements.
When it comes to salary, it is important to remember that each offer is a case by case basis. Your recruiter will do the best to consider all factors and make the fairest offer possible based on what they have available to them.
Give travel nursing a shot
In addition to the generous compensation and the ability to visit different areas of the country, a career in travel nursing provides invaluable skills and experience to take your career to the next level. Travel nursing exposes you to different cultures, different work environments, and helps you perfect the art of flexibility, independent problem solving, and executing a plan of action.
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