Exploring the Rewards of Travel Nurse Jobs
Working as a travel nurse opens doors to many new opportunities and can be an excellent way to explore different parts of the country. With assignments ranging from three to 13 weeks, the possibilities are endless. Compare pay packages to ensure you’re being offered a competitive wage, then consider perks like housing allowances, completion bonuses and continuing education courses.
One of the most attractive aspects of travel nursing is its flexibility. Nurses can find new short-term assignments at healthcare facilities across the country (and even abroad) every day and can choose their desired destinations. Contracts last an average of 13 weeks, giving nurses ample time to immerse themselves in their surroundings and experience local culture. They can also extend their contracts for an additional negotiated period. Travel nurses are hired to fill specific gaps in hospital staffing needs, so they may need more time to choose their shifts or schedules. However, some nurses can prearrange their workdays during initial contract negotiations. This allows them to take extended vacations between their assignments or to visit family and friends. Travel nurses typically receive competitive hourly pay rates, a housing stipend, and benefits like catered meals and travel reimbursements. It is important to remember that this career choice requires frequent relocations and long periods away from loved ones, so it is only for some.
The flexibility of travel nurse jobs allows nurses to explore new landscapes and ways of life. It also teaches them how to adapt, a valuable skill that will benefit them throughout their careers and personal lives. Taking assignments in high-demand areas can boost a nurse’s earning potential, especially if they’re willing to accept overtime or work in a specialty area. Travel nurses can also take advantage of payroll advantages like housing stipends, free healthcare benefits, and heavily discounted or even free medical and dental insurance. However, some agencies have complex contracts and keep nurses in the dark about their pay rates. This makes them vulnerable to being lowballed by greedy recruiters. That’s why travelers need to find a reputable agency that puts doing the right thing over making money. The best travel nursing agencies have recruiters who treat their nurses as people and not just another paycheck. They’re in it for the long haul and understand that a good reputation is essential to their success. And their recruiters know that when their nurses succeed, they’ll grow and thrive.
As a travel nurse, you’ll work in many different environments. Each setting offers a unique learning experience that can benefit your career differently. For example, working in a large city hospital may teach you new technology and procedures different from those at smaller clinics or home healthcare facilities. Your ability to quickly adapt to the environment can make you more valuable when finding a permanent position. Each assignment also allows you to build a strong professional network. You’ll meet permanent staff nurses and fellow travelers as you work at the various healthcare facilities. You’ll also connect with industry recruiters who can help you find your next job or advance your career. Travel nurses typically take on short-term assignments at hospitals or clinics that need temporary RN support. This means they enjoy different benefits than full-time employees, such as employee insurance and retirement plans. However, gigging can offer you the flexibility to earn a substantial wage while still having access to employer-provided benefits such as vacation days and sick leave.
Many travel nurses discover that their professional development is enhanced by the people they meet while on assignments. A robust network of colleagues can be useful for future job searches and career advancement. Travel nurses can build connections in various ways, from attending networking events to casual conversations with nurses they encounter in healthcare facilities or while out and about. Some staffing agencies specialize in connecting nurses with national or international travel nursing opportunities. These staffing firms often have relationships with hospitals, birthing centers, clinics and doctor’s offices that need temporary nursing staff. Nurses can use staffing agency websites to filter jobs by specialty and salary and sign up for daily or weekly job alerts that email them new travel nursing prospects. Travel nurses can also benefit from using professional networking sites to enhance their brand. Creating a strong LinkedIn profile can help nurses gain endorsements from colleagues and supervisors that can boost their career advancement efforts in the future. A strong LinkedIn profile can also be useful for evaluating potential locations to live long-term.
For nurses who desire to expand their professional horizons beyond traditional clinical settings, travel nurse jobs offer the opportunity to test out different facilities and environments. Depending on the type of facility, the types of patients served, and the experience gained, traveling nurses can discover whether they want to commit to a permanent position at that location or if they need more time to decide what their ideal environment looks like. The flexibility of travel nursing allows nurses to choose contracts that align with their interests, resulting in a more balanced lifestyle. Whether it’s the hustle and bustle or the tranquility of the beach, each assignment offers a unique opportunity for growth. With each contract, travel nurses build connections with their peers and the permanent hospital staff they work with. These new relationships can help open doors to future opportunities for travel nurses or even lead to lifelong friendships. This social aspect of the profession is a big draw for many travelers. However, travel nurses must remember that their assignments may require them to be away from family and friends for short periods.