Industry Trends & Insights

Is Travel Nursing Still Worth It in 2023?

Audrey McCollough, RN, BSN
August 2, 2023
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Absolutely! Here's Why:

Are you a nurse considering your first travel assignment, or perhaps a seasoned traveler contemplating your next move? If you've been wondering whether travel nursing is still worth it in 2023, we've got fantastic news for you! We're going to take a comprehensive look at the travel nursing landscape in 2023, including what you can expect to be paid as a travel nurse post-pandemic!

During the COVID pandemic, travel nursing experienced a significant increase in demand as healthcare facilities urgently sought more nurses to fill critical needs.  This led to a surplus of high-paying contracts that attracted many nurses who may not have previously considered travel nursing. Now, as the travel pay begins to find a new baseline, some nurses are now questioning whether travel nursing will remain a favorable option in the future.

Post-pandemic travel nursing remains one of the most rewarding and fulfilling career moves you can make and we’re going to break down exactly why that is! While the pandemic presented unique challenges and opportunities, the pulse of travel nursing remains strong. The essence of this career choice—higher pay, flexibility, new connections, adventure, a politics-free environment, and professional growth—continues to thrive.

Travel Nurse Benefits Continue Post-Pandemic

The pandemic brought travel nurses to the forefront of healthcare, filling critical needs and delivering care where it was needed most. While travel nurses once made up only 3-4% of the nursing workforce, that number has risen to an impressive 10% today!  The world has indeed seen significant changes, but the demand for skilled and compassionate nurses within the US has not waned. In fact, with healthcare facilities adapting to new realities, your expertise and adaptability as a travel nurse are more valuable than ever.

Travel Nurse Pay Remains High 

From March 2020 to July 2022, Trusted Health saw travel nurses across all specialties and states making an average gross weekly income of $3,668! Though the average gross weekly income has decreased slightly since then, Trusted is still seeing an impressive average gross weekly of $3,206.  This amount is leaps and bounds beyond the national average of $1,711 earned by staff nurses and is still higher than the pre-pandemic average of $2,273 gross weekly for travel nurses. 

A graph comparing gross weekly nurse pay among staff nurses and travel nurses pre-pandemic, during the pandemic, and post-pandemic.

These figures firmly indicate that travel nurses continue to enjoy significantly higher compensation than their stationary counterparts, making travel nursing a financially rewarding choice for nurses seeking financial growth. 

Source: Trusted Health Data & Bureau of US Labor Statistics

Embracing Flexibility

Travel nursing offers you the freedom to take extended time off between assignments - an essential aspect of preventing nurse burnout.  Committing to just 4-13 weeks of work at a time,  you can take breaks between assignments to rest, recharge, visit family, or take off on bucket-list vacations.   When you take your next assignment is totally up to you, ensuring the perfect work-life balance! 

Increased flexibility isn’t limited to time off, either - you also get to choose where you work.  Whether you crave the coast, the mountains, or charming small towns, our vast network of healthcare facilities across the US offers plenty of exciting options for your next assignment.

Making Friends and Connections Across the US

Travel nursing isn't just about exploring new places; it's also about forming connections and building your network. Working with a broad network of healthcare professionals allows you to experience different hospital cultures, learn new ways of doing things, and make friends who will last a lifetime.

Imagine having a support system of like-minded professionals scattered across the country, ready to connect no matter where you go!  Trusted makes it easy from the start - we connect you with other travel nurses through our Trusted Community from day one! 

Adventure Awaits: Embrace New Places and Experiences

We know you love adventure; that's why you’re considering or have made the leap to travel nursing in the first place! Travel nursing takes that adventurous spirit to a whole new level. Each assignment is a new chapter in your life, offering the opportunity to immerse yourself in different cultures, try local cuisines, and discover hidden gems in your temporary home. Be sure you check out our city guides in top destinations like Houston, San Diego, Chicago, and Miami

From the sun-kissed beaches of Florida to the snow-capped mountains of Colorado, from the historic charm of New England to the laid-back vibes of the Pacific Northwest, the country is a treasure trove of experiences waiting for you to uncover. 

No More Workplace Politics: Focus on What Matters

Many experienced travel nurses will tell you that one of the best parts of travel nursing is that you get to skip the office politics that often plague traditional staff jobs. Say goodbye to the drama, the gossip, and the unnecessary stress. Instead, focus on what truly matters: providing exceptional patient care and making a positive impact on people's lives, wherever you are.

By working in different healthcare settings across the US, you'll gain valuable experience and enhance your adaptability—qualities that will make you a stronger and more versatile nurse, prepared for any challenge that comes your way.

Professional Growth: Elevate Your Nursing Career

At Trusted Health, we're committed to your professional growth. Travel nursing allows you to gain experience in various specialties and settings, sharpen your skills, and broaden your expertise from coast to coast. Whether you're a seasoned nurse or just starting your journey, each assignment presents an opportunity to expand your horizons and elevate your nursing career.

As a traveler, you can gain experience in all kinds of settings, from rural facilities where resources are limited, to large magnet facilities where care is top-of-the-line.  No matter where your travels take you, you’re improving your ability to function as a valuable team member and learning new ways of doing things in order to provide the best care possible for your patients. 

Don’t Sacrifice Health Insurance and Retirement Benefits

We know that taking time off between assignments is essential for preventing nurse burnout and ensuring you're ready to take on your next adventure. When you travel with Trusted, you don't have to worry about gaps in insurance coverage during your downtime. We’ve got you covered from day one and your insurance coverage is active through the end of the month in which your contract ends.

We also offer coverage options between assignments, so you can enjoy your time off worry-free, knowing you're protected and supported. All you need to do is sign a contract for a new assignment that has a start date within 28 days or less of your current end date and let your Care Team know that you'd like to stay enrolled in your current benefit plans.  So enjoy those 3 weeks off, without having to worry about a gap in coverage. 

And finally, we recognize the importance of planning for the future, which is why we offer a 401k plan to help you secure your financial stability in the long run. With Trusted, you can take charge of your retirement goals while enjoying the exciting journey of travel nursing. Plus, our coverage options between assignments ensure that you won't have to worry about any gaps in coverage during your downtime.

With Great Adventure Comes Great Reward

So, for all the nurses who are contemplating whether travel nursing is still worth it post-pandemic, we have one resounding answer: Absolutely, yes! This is your time to seize the adventure, embrace the rewards, and become part of a community of passionate healthcare professionals.

The travel nursing landscape may have evolved, but the essence of this extraordinary journey remains unchanged. Higher pay, flexibility, new connections, adventure, a politics-free environment, and professional growth—all of these await you as you embark on an unforgettable travel nursing experience.

Trust in yourself, trust in the opportunities that await, and trust in Trusted Health to be your partner in this life-changing journey. Let's create a future filled with boundless opportunities and unforgettable memories as you bring your exceptional skills and heart for nursing to every corner of the nation!

Are you ready to embrace adventure? Sign up to travel and become a part of the Trusted Health family today! Your extraordinary journey awaits!

Audrey McCollough, RN, BSN

Audrey McCollough, RN, BSN, is a pediatric critical care nurse who traded her scrubs for a laptop to come work internally at Trusted two years ago. With eight years of critical care experience and four years of travel nursing under her belt, Audrey now uses her experience and expertise to support others in the healthcare industry, particularly her fellow nurses. When she's not at work, Audrey loves to explore the great outdoors! Hiking, skiing, or just soaking up nature's beauty - Audrey is all about it.

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