Even though nursing is an important job, it may not be for everyone. So before you commit to the life of a traveler, you will want to examine the reasons why travel nursing could enhance your career and lifestyle. If it’s a good fit for you, you could enjoy many benefits not open to other careers or to staff nurses specifically.
Are you a nurse who wants adventure, loves to travel, likes meeting new people, or all of the above?
If so, travel nursing might be a great career path for you!
In this article, you will learn:
- How to decide if travel nursing is the best fit ford you
- Reasons to become a travel nurse
- How to find your ideal travel nursing position
Why become a travel nurse? Keep reading to find out!
Table of Contents
- Is Travel Nursing Right for You?
- Why Be a Travel Nurse? 14 Reasons This Could Be Your Ideal Career Path
- Find New Travel Nursing Positions and the Adventure That Comes With Them Using Trusted Nurse Staffing
Is Travel Nursing Right for You?
Let’s be honest, nursing is hard work, and travel nursing is no exception.
Travel nursing is not all sunshine and roses, and sometimes travel nurses may get the worst shifts. However, there are a lot of benefits to travel nursing.
If you’re asking yourself, “Why be a travel nurse?” check out the following list to see if this path might be a good move for you.
Why Be a Travel Nurse? 14 Reasons This Could Be Your Ideal Career Path
A career as a travel nurse can be rewarding and fulfilling. You can work as a travel nurse in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities across the country for short periods.
There are many benefits to becoming a travel nurse, but here are some of our favorite reasons nurses opt to pursue this career path.
Reason #1: It’s in the Name – You Get To Travel!
The name says it all!
Some travel nurses may just be curious about what else is out there or feel like they want to get out of the rut they’ve been stuck in, while others have been bitten by the travel bug.
The opportunity to work as a travel nurse is particularly appealing to those who are adventurous. As a travel nurse, you can choose the locations of your assignments, and the agency pays for your travel to get there.
Maybe you will be in:
- Louisiana for Mardi Gras
- California for Stagecoach
- Colorado for skiing season; or
- Texas for South by Southwest
- New York for the ball drop on New Year’s Eve
The possibilities are endless!
Not only do you get to work in the destination of your choice, but you can also make the most of your free time by exploring everything the area has to offer. It’s a traveler’s dream.
Reason #2: You Often Earn Higher Wages as a Travel Nurse
Have a lot of student loans to pay off?
On average, travel nursing pays more than staff nursing positions.
A travel nurse’s salary is often higher than a staff nurse’s salary due to perks such as:
- Tax-free stipends
- Reimbursement of travel expenses; and
- Various monetary incentives
According to Indeed.com, the average annual salary for a travel nurse in 2023 is $118,454. This breaks down to:
- $8,387 per month
- $2,167 per week
- $50.77 per hour
That is significantly higher than the average salary for staff nurses, which is $92,258.
Along with the higher salary, travel nurses have the opportunity to earn different types of bonuses.
Three standard bonuses are available to travel nurses are:
- Hospital-provided bonus – This is considered a “completion bonus” and is paid by the hospital when the assignment is finished.
- Agency-added bonus — This consists of money that the company does not include in its original compensation calculations.
- Agency-factored bonus — The company factors the bonus cost into your compensation.
Earning more money through referrals is another option. RNs who refer their friends to travel nurse companies will often be rewarded with referral bonuses.
In addition, free furnished housing or a housing stipend might be available. Because of all these extras, many workers feel that travel nursing offers financial stability and peace of mind.
With a higher salary and other financial perks, it may be possible to pay off those student loans more quickly or even save for retirement.
Reason #3: You Can Figure Out Where You Want to Live If and When You’re Ready to Settle Down
Have you ever considered moving to another state?
How about living near a beach if you love summer?
Enjoy hiking and want to live near the mountains?
With a traveling nurse career, you can live anywhere for a while!
Instead of settling down in an unknown area, you can move all over the country until you find the right place for you.
Maybe travel nursing will help you find your forever home — or perhaps you’ll just keep traveling!
Reason #4: You’ll Experience Working in Diverse Settings
With new job environments come new procedures and learning opportunities.
Some settings you might work in as a travel nurse include:
- Big city hospitals
- Rural hospitals
- Community health centers
- University hospitals; and
- Urgent care
No matter where you go, they’ll do things a little differently in each location, and every experience you gain will be helpful. Travel nursing provides you with access to facilities throughout the country that you might not otherwise consider.
In addition, you can boost your resume by taking on a contract at a reputable hospital or clinic.
Just imagine your resume being full of exciting and diverse experiences. With travel nursing, you will have the most impressive resume around if you decide to take a location-stable job based on:
- Your new professional contacts
- Your experience in many types of environments; and
- Your work with different types of administrators
Reason #5: You May Be Able To Accelerate Your Professional Growth
Working in a variety of settings is great experience, but perhaps even better than that is the breadth of knowledge you can gain from taking jobs in different specialty areas.
Consider a surgical nurse who works at the same place all the time. They may only assist with one type of surgery day in and day out. Sure, they become an expert in that surgical field. But maybe they want to do more.
A surgical travel nurse may have opportunities to work on orthopedic surgeries, abdominal surgeries, general emergency surgeries, and more!
As a travel nurse, you could conceivably work in a different area of nursing every time you take a new assignment.
You won’t be limited to just one population and can see a variety of patients, perform many different procedures, and learn lots of new on-the-job skills. This will help you practice your critical thinking skills and quickly broaden your professional growth experiences, which can lead to higher pay for future assignments.
Reason #6: You Can Use Breaks Between Contracts to Do Whatever You Please
Travel nurses usually work with 13-week contracts. However, as the profession grows and demands change, there are more variations in contract lengths.
Whatever your contract might be, the time you take off between assignments is entirely up to you.
Finish an assignment, and head to Europe!
Finish another job, and then take off to Asia!
Or come to the end of the next one and decide to just stay home and chill for a while, spending precious time with your family and friends.
All of this is on your own schedule. Travel nursing means you are not bound to long-term employment agreements and earned and scheduled vacation times.
Reason #7: Travel Nursing Allows You to Minimize Feelings of Burnout
Many staff nurses suffer from burnout after working in the same area for many years.
Nurse burnout is the state of mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion caused by sustained work-related stressors such as:
- Long hours
- The pressure of quick decision-making; and
- The strain of caring for patients who may have poor outcomes
Travel nursing is as demanding as any other nursing job; however, think of it as a working vacation every time you move to a new assignment.
Your energy level may be kept up, and your smile becomes genuine when you change:
- Co-workers; and even
- The weather
If you are a nurse suffering from burnout, travel nursing might be just the change you need.
Reason #8: You’ll (Mostly) Avoid Workplace Politics
Does anyone enjoy workplace politics? The answer should be an unequivocal, “NO!”
No job is free of workplace politics or drama, and travel nursing is no exception, but there is a huge benefit to being a short-term employee.
There is no or minimal management drama or politics for travel nurses. Since they are not stationed in one place for an extended period of time, they can go in, do their jobs, and focus on caring for patients.
And it’s okay if the assignment is not a perfect fit; shortly, a new assignment will be given to you. This thought can keep you going on those long workdays.
Reason #9: It Will Help You Save on Your Cost of Living
If you are interested in saving on the cost of living, travel nursing might be ideal for you.
Many travel nursing companies offer free, private housing. As a result, many everyday living expenses are eliminated or drastically decreased with your housing expenses covered.
If saving on the cost of living is your goal, you might want to look into areas that are known for their low cost of living.
Living in an area known for a lower cost of living will help to drive down spending and monthly expenses.
Reason #10: You Can Meet New People and Make Connections Across the Country
As you travel to and from facilities, you will have the chance to connect with people from all different walks of life.
You will get to know new people — from your colleagues at the facility to friends you make outside of work. The people you meet and connect with are those you would otherwise never meet.
You will be able to make friends all over the country. An added bonus? Just imagine visiting your new friends on vacations in the future!
Another bonus to meeting new people is that you will also build your network while working alongside various healthcare professionals.
You never know when one of those relationships could translate into a future job opportunity.
Reason #11: Travel Nursing Allows You to Be Adventurous and Try New Things
In addition to the benefits and security of a nursing career, travel nursing offers many opportunities for excitement.
Every new city will have something different to experience as a travel nurse.
Just imagine, on your days off, you can:
- Go hiking in the Rockies
- Relax by the beach
- Tour historical sites; and
- Much more
These are activities you can do in solitude or with the new friends you will be meeting.
With travel nursing, every day can be a new adventure.
Reason #12: You’ll Learn How To Live Independently
Have you always lived with family or with roommates? Travel nursing allows you to be independent and solely responsible for yourself.
Learn how to:
- Stand up for yourself
- Shop and cook for one; and
- Enjoy solitude
As professor of psychology Alison Gopnik once said:
“Becoming an adult means leaving the world of your parents and starting to make your way toward the future that you will share with your peers.”
And even if you’ve been an adult for a while and know how to take care of yourself, the world of travel nursing lets you explore periods of solitude and traveling on your own, which can be great for really getting to know yourself and what you like.
Reason #13: You Can Serve Populations in Need
Most nurses choose the profession because they have a deep desire to help those in need. Travel nursing allows you to use your skills in places that most need your help, whether it be due to:
- Natural disasters
- Critical staff shortages
- Struggles to provide adequate medical care to populations
- And more
Your presence as a travel nurse can have a meaningful impact on both the medical facilities that hire you and the patients they serve.
Reason #14: Most Travel Nurses Have Their Licensure and Continuing Education Fees Covered
Most travel nursing agencies — including Trusted Nurse Staffing — provide reimbursements for state licensing fees and certifications related to the job. The best agencies will even keep track of your upcoming renewals and help you every step of the way.
Licensure and certifications that will be covered by your travel nursing agency may include:
- State licenses
- Basic Life Support (BLS)
- Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS)
- Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS)
- CEU requirements
- And more
Find New Travel Nursing Positions and the Adventure That Comes With Them Using Trusted Nurse Staffing
Whether you are looking for your first travel nursing assignment or ready for a new journey, Trusted Nurse Staffing can support you at every step.
Our main objective is to help you achieve your full potential as a traveling nurse. To assist with this, we will provide:
- Access to your recruiter 24 hours a day
- Our flexible contracts, which range from per diem assignments to 52-week assignments
- Health, dental, and vision insurance plans
- A quality assurance department devoted to making your travel nurse experience the best it can be
- And much, much more