There are all kinds of nursing specialty paths to follow in the profession. You can work with every population, from the elderly to premature infants. You can specialize in fast-paced ER triage or the slower pace of nursing home care. One option offered to any specialty is travel nursing.
TravelNursing.org defines these roles as “a nurse who is hired to work in a specific location for a limited amount of time.” Since nurses are in such high demand, travel nurses seek to fill clinical care gaps for short periods. They could be replacing a nurse who is out on maternity leave or provide extra help during seasonal staffing shortages.
There are pros and cons to travel nursing. Let’s take a look at the benefits and challenges of these roles to determine if they might be right for you.
Benefits of Being a Travel Nurse
Travel nurses skip the politics and drama that can come from a standard job. They typically work a role and then leave again in a few months. Travel nurses get to travel around the country and see new places while gaining a variety of experience in all kinds of settings.
If you hate being stuck in the same old job, your experience as a travel nurse changes every 13 to 26 weeks or so. You can also pick and choose if you go on an assignment, which means you aren’t forced to do something that doesn’t excite you. Imagine being able to pick when and where you want to work! If you’re thinking about settling down but want to see the country first, travel nursing is a good way to further your career while learning about communities around the country.
Travel nurses are paid well for these roles and living experiences can be negotiated along with salaries. It’s a great way to explore jobs and communities without committing to any one place for too long.
Challenges of Being a Travel Nurse
Although we shared some perks of the role, these same perks could also be considered challenges. First, a travel nurse is away from home for large chunks of time. If you have a family, it can be challenging to be away. Schedules can be unpredictable. You will need to be highly organized to stay on top of the travel and the new settings you will enter. You also need to be highly adaptable to new cultures and new protocols and learn things quickly. This takes a lot of energy and might not be for everyone. The other big challenge is there are a lot of goodbyes in travel nursing. If you’re packing up and leaving every few months, it makes it hard to grow friendships in such a short amount of time.
So, Is Travel Nursing Right for You?
We’ve worked with travel nurses who have been in the field for years and still love the ever-changing scenery and job challenges. They love the great pay and benefits and the ability to move on to greener pastures. Travel nurses say every new job is an adventure and they love the lifestyle!
For others, traditional nursing feels like a better choice because it’s steady and reliable. They can put their roots in one place, start a life, and build a family.
Talk with the MAS Medical team about your options. We’re here to help.