If you’re searching for your next nursing assignment, consider travel nursing. This short-term contract work can help decrease burnout and compassion fatigue and prevent hospital politics from ruining your experience.
It’s also a great way to test locations where you may want to live long-term. Plus, agencies typically provide housing or a stipend that can cover the cost of your apartment.
Travel nursing can be an appealing option for nurses seeking a new challenge and a chance to add experience to their resume. Short term travel nurse jobs typically earn up to four times the salary of a staff nurse, with some agencies providing comprehensive benefits packages to their employees. Generally, hospitals employ travel nurses on temporary assignments that last 13 weeks. This allows hospitals to fill gaps in their staffing without having to hire more permanent nurses. During the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, many hospitals called upon travel nurses to help with increased patient demand. Because travel nurses change locations frequently, they gain many experiences within the hospital system. They learn multiple EMR systems, charting procedures and protocols, and how different departments operate. They also build a network of professional connections with other travel nurses. During their first assignment, travel nurses often visit their destination the day before they begin their contract to scope out traffic, parking, and their assigned housing. Many travel nurses choose agency-provided accommodation, which can save time searching for an apartment or house and alleviate the stress of a big move. Other nurses prefer to find their housing and receive a housing stipend, which can reduce tax burdens.
A key benefit of travel nursing is exploring new locations on your days off. You can enjoy Hawaii’s beauty or Texa’s excitement without the stress of finding a permanent job. It’s also an opportunity to learn from the nurses in each hospital and acquire a wide range of skills. Each assignment takes you to different facilities, from top research hospitals to rural community centers, and exposes you to diverse patient populations. It’s also an opportunity to develop your specialized skills and expand your resume with unique experiences. Travel nursing offers several advantages, including working in various healthcare settings and locations, allowing nurses to gain diverse knowledge and explore different parts of the country. Travel nurses often receive competitive pay rates, housing allowances, and benefits, making it a financially rewarding career choice. Nurses contract with the agencies that place them, and the agency is responsible for paying their wages, but it’s important to understand the differences between taxable and nontaxable income.
Working in different locations and meeting new people stretches nurses beyond their comfort zones. It also showcases RNs’ flexibility and ability to adapt quickly — for instance, when a different hospital uses another medical software program or a unique set of protocols. If that’s a goal, this can boost their resumes and make them more desirable candidates for permanent employment. The demand for travel nurses is high, especially in states with persistent staffing shortages and Magnet hospitals that require special nurse certifications. This is because these facilities often need to be more staffed and need help to retain nurses. Travel nurses fill temporary service gaps, allowing full-time nurses to focus on patients and other duties. In addition to the flexible contract lengths, travel nurses can often choose where they want to work. From big cities to small towns, the opportunities are endless. Travel nurses can find themselves in a big city enjoying world-class entertainment, dining, and outdoor activities or in a smaller town with charm and a different way of life. The freedom to explore and choose the location of each assignment also allows travel nurses to pair up with a coworker and share an apartment or house in the area for a more affordable living option. This is a great way to enjoy the culture and community of each destination with someone you can explore with on your days off.
One of the best aspects of travel nursing is building a network of contacts. Whether a travel nurse or permanent staff member, your professional network is essential to your career success; connections at each assignment can lead to future opportunities and serve as a valuable resource for advice. Developing a travel nurse network can also help you find long-term positions. In a time of ongoing nursing shortages, hospitals are constantly looking to fill open positions with highly skilled and experienced nurses. Your connections may even provide you with an early opportunity to apply for a permanent job at the facility you’re working in. As a travel nurse, you’ll need to be licensed in the state where you’re working. Many staffing agencies assist with licensing new assignments, but it can be time-consuming. Additionally, it’s worth noting that hospitals and facilities can terminate your contract if no positions are available. In such cases, your staffing agency will try to place you in another job as quickly as possible.