You’re a nurse that has been bitten by the travel bug. You are ready to experience new and exciting adventures while furthering your career.
Sure, traveling sounds great. But you want to know for sure: Is travel nursing worth it?
In this guide, we will discuss travel nursing pros and cons and how you can make the most out of your career as a travel nurse.
Table of Contents
- Why Do Hospitals Hire Travel Nurses?
- What Do Travel Nurses Do?
- How Often Do Travel Nurses Travel?
- How Much Do Travel Nurses Make?
- Pros And Cons Of Travel Nursing: Is It Worth It?
- How Do I Choose A Travel Nursing Agency?
- Is Travel Nursing Worth It? Complete Your Free Online Profile And Experience It For Yourself
Why Do Hospitals Hire Travel Nurses?
Travel nurses can act as a safety net for a hospital.
Hospitals hire travel nurses for a number of reasons, including:
- To address short-term staffing needs
- To fill in positions that are high in demand
- To provide extra staffing during busy seasons
Additionally, hospitals love hiring travel nurses because it is a cost-effective staffing solution for them.
Travel nurses are employees of their staffing agency — not the hospital. Because of this, the hospital is spared from providing typical employee expenses like:
- Health insurance
- Paid time off
- Recruitment and training
Before signing on with an agency, make sure you know what benefits are provided to you as a travel nurse.
What Do Travel Nurses Do?
Anything they want. Okay, that’s not exactly true.
But you do have the option to choose where you’d like to work, what nursing position you’d like, and even what type of shifts you want to work.
Any available assignment that you qualify for is on the table.
If you have dreams of traveling the country while still fulfilling your passion for your career, consider travel nursing.
We offer flexible contracts in all 50 states. Use the Pronto job search to find great opportunities and take control of your work life.
Connect with Trusted Nurse Staffing via Pronto today.
How Often Do Travel Nurses Travel?
Among the pros and cons of being a traveling nurse is the flexibility in contract length.
While the typical contract length is 13 weeks, Trusted Nurse Staffing offers flexible contracts for 8-, 13-, 26-, and even 52-week contracts.
As long as the hospital is in agreement, contracts can be also renewed and extended multiple times if you happen to fall in love with your assignment.
If you end up not loving an assignment, the good news is it’s only temporary, and you can be off to your next job once your contract ends.
How Much Do Travel Nurses Make?
As far as travel nursing pros and cons go, if you were to ask a travel nurse about their biggest “pros” they would likely mention the pay.
The average annual travel nurse salary in the US is $105,021 or $50 per hour according to ZipRecruiter. This is significantly higher than the average salary for registered nurses overall, which is $77,600 per year or $37.31 per hour.
However, you have the opportunity to earn even more money based on a few factors. Keep reading to learn how you can make the most money as a travel nurse.
Where Do Travel Nurses Make The Most Money?
Areas with the highest demand, such as crisis assignments or areas facing strikes/nursing shortages are where the biggest money potential is.
For example, travel nursing pay nearly doubled nationwide in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Some of the highest-paying locations for travel nurses include:
- New York
The defining factor in pay for these states is attributed to the cost of living being higher. Most southern states offer lower pay for travel nursing because the cost of living is lower.
However, this isn’t always the case. It’s possible to have your cake and eat it, too, if you can manage to take a rapid-response assignment.
Other factors such as location, specialty, and shift type will affect how much money you can make as a travel nurse.
3 Factors That Affect A Travel Nurse’s Pay
You’re still deciding on whether travel nursing is worth it but find the financial opportunity to be quite alluring.
The good news is, you don’t have to take an emergency assignment to make a lot of money.
Let’s talk about three other factors that can help line your wallet with some extra cash.
You’ve probably heard this old real estate mantra: location, location, location.
When it comes to higher pay for travel nursing, location is likely the biggest factor.
Once you determine what locations are currently available for travel nursing, you can begin researching each place to help determine if it will be a good fit for your interests and goals.
For example, you may love the adventure that the destination offers, but if the cost of living is higher than what you expect to be paid, you won’t be able to budget for many adventures.
When choosing your next travel nursing location, you may want to consider these five factors:
- Cost of living
- Distance from family
- Local transportation options
- Housing options
Nurses with certain qualifications and specialties are paid considerably more.
This is where having a good travel nurse staffing agency will come into play.
A great travel nurse staffing agency, like Trusted Nurse Staffing, will reimburse you for your license, certifications, and CEUs.
If you have the time and drive to take advantage of education reimbursements, you can earn top-dollar nursing assignments for in-demand, high-paying specialties.
Some of the top highest-paying travel nurse specialties include:
- Labor and delivery nurses
- Operating room nurses
- NICU nurses
- Postanesthesia care unit nurses
- ICU nurses
- Emergency room
If you need to know how to choose a nursing specialty, the folks at Trusted Nurse Staffing will do their best to give you experience in as many different fields as they can.
And with the Pronto job search, it’s easier than ever to find just what you’re looking for. Enter your specifications such as specialties you’re interested in and places you want to travel/work and let Pronto do the rest.
Night shifts — you either love them or hate them.
But regardless of how you feel on the matter, night shift assignments make more money.
Hospitals are often in need of more night shift nurses and are willing to offer higher rates to fill this demand.
If you’re a night owl, that extra money may just entice you to take a night shift assignment.
However, a word to the wise, don’t sacrifice your happiness for money.
If you know you’ll be miserable working night shifts, lean into the plethora of other factors that can help you make the most money as a travel nurse.
Pros and Cons of Being a Travel Nurse: Is It Worth It?
Let’s talk about the pros and cons of travel nursing. Is it worth it to pick up your life and move to a new location?
By the end of this article, you should have your answer.
Travel Nursing Pros
There are many pros of travel nursing to consider.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why nurses are flocking to travel nursing.
This one is obvious — the opportunity to travel is one of the main reasons why nurses choose to become a travel nurse.
If you are interested in travel nursing, you must have a craving for adventure.
With travel nursing, you can start scratching destinations off your travel wish list and gain enriching, life-long experiences through travel.
A career in travel nursing means being able to do whatever else it is you love, and the added flexibility of taking PRN shifts gives you even more time for that. With the Trusted Nurse Staffing Pronto job search, you can enter your search details and find jobs that meet your requirements.
Make More Money
As we’ve discussed, there is ample opportunity to make a good amount of money as a travel nurse.
While multiple factors may determine your pay, you’re likely to make more as a travel nurse than a staff nurse.
An RN travel nurse’s salary may vary depending on:
- Crisis assignments
- And more
Get Housing Benefits
As a travel nurse, you typically have two choices for housing benefits:
- Agency-based housing
- Housing stipend
With agency-based housing, your travel nurse staffing agency will coordinate your temporary housing for you. This can be a great option if you don’t want to deal with any stress in finding your own housing.
If you choose to get a housing stipend, you will be responsible for coordinating your own housing. Your housing stipend is based on the cost of living in the area of your assignment.
Some nurses choose to take a housing stipend as it can give them more flexibility if they can find housing rent lower than the allotted stipend.
The Pronto job search can help you find the perfect place to call home for your next travel nurse assignment location, and the team at Trusted Nursing Staff can help with any career-related issues that come up before, during, or after your assignment.
Search jobs today on Pronto.
Score Agency Perks and Incentives
A great travel nurse staffing agency will have a fair amount of perks and incentives.
For example, some of the perks of working with Trusted Nurse Staffing include:
- Some of the highest pay rates in the industry
- Flexible contracts with 8-, 13-, 26-, and 52-week assignments
- Full/part-time options
- 24/7 support from your recruiter
- Availability for overtime/double-time
- Weekly paychecks, daily pay, and advances available via direct deposit
- Allowances for housing, meals, and travel
- Customized benefits package
- Insurance with Blue Cross and Blue Shield
- Reimbursements for licenses, certifications, and CEUs
- A loyalty program
- A referral program
- Priority job order bonus
- Sign-on and completion bonuses
Always consider the perks and incentives offered by a staffing agency before deciding to sign on.
While there are many reasons to love travel nursing, it is true that every rose has its thorn.
Let’s take a look at some of the possibly not-so-fun aspects of travel nursing.
At some point, every travel nurse has probably experienced homesickness.
Of course, missing out on family events or holidays due to an assignment can make one feel lonely.
Because of this, travel nurses often stick together.
It’s important to develop a good support system at your travel nursing assignment to help you combat the occasional homesickness blues.
Dealing With Travel Logistics
Travel logistics can be a little hairy sometimes. Settling into a new location is not always easy.
Some difficulties of moving frequently include:
- Getting used to time-zone changes
- Changes in weather
- Arranging insurance between contracts
- Adjusting quickly to new work environments
Travel nurses are often used to fill staff shortages. Unfortunately, this means you may not always get your ideal work schedule.
Working night or weekend shifts is a strong possibility as a travel nurse.
However, travel nurses generally work three days a week, which leads to a lot of time off to explore each new location.
How Do I Choose A Travel Nursing Agency?
When choosing a travel nurse agency, you want to look out for these 3 things:
- Support/Responsiveness: Your agency should provide mentorship and strong support.
- Benefits: Make sure your agency provides the benefits you need.
- Great Pay/Perks: Shop around for the best pay and incentives so you can guarantee you are making the most money possible.
If you find that an agency is unresponsive, doesn’t offer insurance, and doesn’t offer weekly pay, these are warning signs telling you to run the other way.
Weigh the Traveling Nurse Pros and Cons for Yourself With the Help of Trusted Nurse Staffing
Are you ready to choose adventure, pad your resume, and make life-long memories as a travel nurse?
We are here to support you along your journey.
Check out Trusted Nurse Staffing’s Pronto job search to explore a world of future possibilities in your travel nursing career.
The Pronto job search, which Trusted Nurse Staffing powers, is a solution for allied health professionals, RNs, and LPNs who are searching for the right travel assignment that matches their lifestyles.
Pronto will find you all the available assignment opportunities in the area — all at the touch of your fingertips.
Pronto was designed to enable new and experienced travel nurses nationwide to take control of their careers, acquire the work-life balance they’ve been searching for, and find the road to their dream jobs.