10 Pros (and Cons) of Travel Nursing

If you’re looking for a profession that offers both adventure and stability, then you should consider travel nursing.

But, it’s important to know what’s best for you. Let’s take a look at the ten pros and cons of travel nursing to determine if it’s a fit!


1. Great Pay and Benefits

The average travel nurse salary could reach as high as $110,213 a year, according to Payscale.com. That’s around double what a regular licensed nurse earns — $46,240 per year.

The average travel nurse salary could reach as high as $110,213 a year, according to Payscale.com. That’s around double what a regular licensed nurse earns—$46,240 per year.

But pay for travel nurses isn’t just about your base salary.

Travel nurses can also expect many incredible salary benefits:

  • tax-free stipends
  • generous reimbursements
  • healthcare and retirement benefits
  • tax breaks
  • bonuses
  • deals and discounts
  • and more.

When tax time rolls around, you also get to enjoy many different travel nurse tax deductions that vary by location.

Con: When it comes to pay, there is no salary. This means that travel nurses cannot count on the expected incremental pay raises that come with a salaried position.

Luckily, the more experience you gain as a travel nurse, the higher paying assignments you can take. This is essentially the same as earning raises in a static position based on time spent at the job.


2: Endless Adventure

Travel nursing jobs can be found in any city imaginable. That means you have a multitude of opportunities to pick and choose your next adventure.

Even better, as a travel nurse, you don’t have to limit your travel based on season! You can change “your area” at any time.

You can base your assignments off of anything you’d like:

  • weather
  • hobbies
  • interests

It’s up to you!

Con: If you prefer a routine over ever-changing scenery, this might be difficult for you. Think about whether or not you can embrace moving on to a new assignment every few months.


3. Professional Growth

The travel nurse lifestyle is ideal for individuals who want to work at different facilities and gain unique experiences.

There’s no limit to the type of knowledge you can gain as a travel nurse.

  • You’ll learn how to be more flexible in different settings
  • Enhance your cultural competency
  • Gain more independence
  • Develop your people skills
  • Acquire new skills and specializations

In addition, there’s increased demand for nurses experienced in emergency departments, intensive care, and other specialty areas.

By traveling, you gain exposure to a little bit of everything, meaning that when and if you finally decide to settle down, you’ll have a far more vast array of professional experience than your peers.

Con: The traditional route for gaining professional experience often includes a lengthy stint with a single employer. In most other professions, bouncing around from employer to employer is frowned upon. However, travel nursing is one career that favors the number of employers for whom you have worked!


4. Freedom and Flexibility

When you choose your different travel assignments, you also choose when to take time off and spend time with your family and friends.

As a regular RN, you’re limited by your vacation time and the business of your organization. On the other hand, a travel nurse has the flexibility to choose how much they want to work.

Con: If you are unable to bring your family with you, then it may be difficult to be separated from them.


5. High Demand Locations

As a travel nurse, you don’t have to depend on location.

Instead, you can choose assignments only in the best places to live as a nurse.

If you end up having a hard time finding new travel healthcare jobs or travel nurse jobs in your current location, you can easily pack up your bags and move to a new location and facility that better fits your changing needs.

Con: In very rare cases, there may only be positions in high demand areas. While it’s very unlikely, it is possible that none of those locations appeal to you.


6. Avoiding Work Politics

One of the difficult parts of working in a hospital are the politics and management issues. Not so for a travel nurse.

When you travel from job to job, you’re able to focus more closely on patient care and avoid all the hospital politics. And if you find yourself in a hospital or clinic where the drama is overwhelming, that’s the blessing of short-term contracts.

Con: Being the “new nurse” may be a bit of a challenge at first. Honing your adaptability through experience ensures you fit in anywhere.


7. Trying New Specialties

Sometimes nursing can become boring when you’re stuck in the same specialty year-after-year. Travel nurses have an almost unlimited array of specialties they can choose from.

You can choose a specialty based on which one pays the most, or you can even choose your specialty based on its rarity—giving you a unique skillset that would be hard to deny.

Con: If you like staying where you are, then you may not want to try a new specialty.


8. Affordable Housing

In general, travel nurse housing is provided with your job. That means you don’t have to find a new home everywhere you move.

Common living expenses are eliminated or dramatically decreased as a travel nurse. In fact, in many cases, you’re provided with a fully-furnished home wherever you go.

Con: There’s just one thing to remember when it comes to housing; you have to bring all of your personal items with you. If you think you’ll struggle with this, check out our travel nurse packing list.


9. Resume Building

Are you ready to upgrade your nursing resume? A travel nurse career is a great resume builder.

Travel nurses possess a skillset like few other individuals. Just think, how many nurses have experienced a small critical-access hospital setting and a large teaching hospital?

Between your professional contacts, range of on-the-job skills, and experience in a variety of environments, a travel nurse resume stands out in the crowd.

All of those skills and abilities will not only make you a better nurse, but they’ll enhance your resume and make you a killer interviewee.

Con: Keeping your resume up to date takes more effort than most professions since you’re constantly gaining new experience in new facilities.


10.  Meeting New People

At each location, you’ll meet new colleagues at the facility where you work, and you’ll make new friends outside the office.

Travel nursing puts you in touch with people that you would never meet otherwise—people from different cultures, neighborhoods, interests, and hobbies.

Con: Being on the road also means you aren’t near your hometown friends as much as you may like to be.

The Pros Far Outweigh the Cons

As a travel nurse, you have a fun and flexible lifestyle that few people can boast. But more than that, it’s a great way to build up your career and experience in ways that you could never imagine.

Are you thinking about embarking on this career? Contact us today.


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