There are a handful of benefits when it comes to travel nursing, some of which are the main drivers for nurses to get into it.
First and foremost, it’s in the name: travel! For a lot of people who want to have a career but also the ability to travel to new places often, travel nursing is ideal.
Oftentimes, travel nurses will take assignments in areas of the US where they want to spend time exploring. This way, before and after assignments, or even between shifts, they can explore the surrounding area. Some will even do so to escape or follow certain climates during different parts of the year.
As mentioned above, travel nurses can take home a higher salary than staff nurses in many states. While there’s more to consider in terms of financials (i.e. travel nurse taxes — more on this below), if you’re looking to save up some extra money in the short term, this is one way of doing so.
By changing your work surroundings every six to thirteen months, you must be able to adjust to and master various settings in a short period of time. This can sometimes expedite your learning, as you’ll need to be more self-reliant and quick to grasp new concepts when travel nursing at a new facility.
Dealing with the inherent stressors of moving to and working in a new city, meeting new people, and navigating new challenges is enough to push anyone outside of their comfort zone. Although it may sound tough, the more you’re able to push yourself in these situations, oftentimes the more personal growth you have to accomplish. This can benefit your own life and confidence as well as the care and empathy you can provide to patients.
Moreover, a benefit of the constant moving and shorter contracts means that you have more flexibility than a staff nurse expected to be available nearly 365 days a year. You’ll frequently have the ability to schedule your travel nursing contracts around holidays or vacation plans that you make ahead of time. If you know you want to take a week off in August, simply seek out contracts that end before or begin after!
Management and Leadership Training
If your career goal is to ultimately move up the ladder and become a charge nurse or chief nursing officer, having experience in a variety of facilities (particularly of differing management and leadership styles) can expedite your understanding and optimization of a myriad of hierarchical structures and organizations. This will be key when it’s your turn to create and apply your own management strategy.
And, of course, networking. The more places you work, the more people you meet (and hopefully impress), and the more potential opportunities for you in the future. More often than not (about 60-70% of the time), travel nurses will actually apply for or accept an extension that the facility they’re currently contracted at. As in anything, who you know can make the world of a difference when you’re looking for your next role.
Unfortunately, there are also some drawbacks of travel nursing to be aware of...