Travel nursing has numerous pros and cons for medical professionals interested in pursuing a travel lifestyle.
Travel nurses lead exciting lives, visit incredible locations and make new friends.
However, it can be isolating and lonely for those who prefer staying close to home and enjoying the familiarity of their town/city.
First, let’s start with the pros of travel nursing so you understand why it’s enticing to particular nurses and medical professionals.
Pros of Travel Nursing
For those who don’t mind briefly relocating and leaving things behind, travel nursing offers incredible money and adventures most people never experience.
Besides that, travel nurses develop unique skills and perspectives and have the opportunity to pick the assignments they want.
Picking assignments means travel nurses can cultivate a work/life balance that suits their needs and desires.
The following section provides a helpful overview of the pros of travel nursing.
1. Travel Nurses Earn Great Money
Travel nurses earn excellent wages due to the high demand for staff in the locations they work.
These professionals can easily make more money than registered nurses working full-time at the location.
Healthcare facilities with staffing shortages or emergencies need nurses to relocate to cover the nursing deficit temporarily.
Therefore, locations offer significant payments and numerous benefits to entice travel nurses to work at their facility.
For example, a hospital may offer higher than average per diem wages for nurses willing to accept the assignment.
They’ll also cover travel/living expenses and even offer relocation packages to maintain long-term employment at the end of an assignment.
Finally, travel nurses pick their assignments, further driving up competition for healthcare facilities to offer excellent incentives to work at their location.
Travel nurses determine their happiness with the pay, location, and benefits before agreeing to an assignment.
2. Travel Nurses Visit New Locations
Visiting new locations, states, and even countries is one of the most enjoyable elements of travel nursing.
Moreover, travel nursing allows you to get paid while seeing the country or world for those with an adventurous spirit.
Paid accommodations, negotiated salaries, benefits, and the opportunity to pick the places you want to work are just some fantastic opportunities this profession offers.
For those unsure whether to relocate, travel nursing allows nurses to temporarily work at a particular location and see if it’s a good fit.
It’s excellent for nurses interested in numerous states/cities who want to examine a location before making a long-term decision.
3. Great Potential to Meet People and Network
Because travel nurses frequently visit new places, they always have opportunities to meet people and develop relationships.
It also allows enthusiastic nurses to network and builds their reputation for career advancement and relocation opportunities.
As a result, this career is excellent for those who like to connect with others and develop valuable relationships.
Over time, having a solid network opens up many doors, whether you’re looking for a new full-time position or need somewhere to stay while on vacation.
At the very least, you’ll meet new people that enhance your life, evolve your personality, expand your world, and become lifelong friends!
4. Travel Nurses Pick Their Work Assignments
Travel nurses choose the assignments they want when numerous healthcare facilities request supplemental staffing.
As a result, travel nursing is perfect for those who love variety and control over their lifestyles.
It provides an excellent work/life balance for nurses that want to travel and meet people on their terms.
Furthermore, travel nurses can turn down work assignments that don’t fit their lifestyle, salary needs, or schedule.
That said, travel nurses receive the best offers by working with numerous travel nursing agencies, developing their expertise, and building relationships.
5. There are Diverse Career Opportunities
As a travel nurse, you have the luxury of working in different healthcare departments with sufficient experience.
As a result, you determine which careers in nursing best suit your personality and talents.
]It’s great for those unsure which career path they want to work in full-time.
Instead of picking a particular department and dedicating years to it, travel nurses pick temporary assignments that provide excellent experiences.
It also allows nurses to understand how different environments impact the workplace and daily routines.
For example, working in a city brings in different types of patients compared to rural locations.
Demographics also impact workflow and the areas registered nurses must specialize in to provide the best care.
Consequently, taking on various assignments better prepares travel nurses to understand their field and find a perfect fit for their talents.
Best of all, you don’t get stuck in a department or specialization you don’t like for more than a few weeks/months because assignments are temporary.
6. You Avoid Workplace Politics
Being a nurse is extremely rewarding. However, many long-term registered nurses are familiar with the headaches of workplace politics.
As a travel nurse, you’ll work temporarily with various healthcare facilities, avoiding most of the politics that come with full-time work.
It’s excellent for those who enjoy helping patients and earning money but want to circumvent issues that commonly arise when working for a facility for years or decades!
You stay long enough to enjoy the staff, follow the rules, and leave soon enough not to feel bogged down by employees or hospital politics.
It’s one of the best parts of temporary assignments and moving around rather than staying complacent for some nurses.
7. Excellent Job Stability
Nursing offers excellent job stability for well-educated, hard-working, and flexible medical professionals.
The same holds for travel nurses willing to relocate to locations in need of supplemental staffing temporarily.
Travel nurses have a high level of job stability because healthcare facilities always need medical professionals.
For instance, travel nurses work in underserved communities under emergency circumstances and where there are staffing shortages.
Travel nurses have numerous options for maintaining work throughout the year.
It includes accepting work extensions, preparing for future contracts while on assignments, and working locally when preferred out-of-state jobs aren’t ready.
Working locally also allows travel nurses to manage multiple jobs when operating on a part-time basis.
Cons of Travel Nursing
Although this profession is exciting and offers unique experiences, there are disadvantages to being a travel nurse.
It’s particularly true among those who are introverted or enjoy the familiarity of a stable lifestyle.
Being a travel nurse requires a certain mentality that not everyone possesses or cares to embrace.
This section explores the disadvantages of being a travel nurse for those unsure whether to make the career change.
1. You Can Become Homesick and Lonely
Travel nursing is fun and exciting, offering numerous opportunities to visit new locations and meet different people.
However, being away from home can feel lonely and isolating for those not used to traveling.
Nurses with tight families or close friends will find it especially difficult to leave home for several weeks.
Those who enjoy being alone or prefer a less social lifestyle may also find it difficult to travel.
The comforts and familiarity of home are no longer available when going out of state or traveling away from your hometown/residence.
Therefore, nurses must feel confident that traveling and leaving home for extended periods won’t cause a negative experience or create significant loneliness.
2. Budget and Travel Stress
Travel nursing requires leaving home to work out of state or a designated distance away from home.
Depending on your assignment location, you may drive your vehicle, rent a car, or travel by plane or train.
It creates stress for those who don’t enjoy frequent packing, budgeting travel expenses, or commuting for numerous hours.
Travel nurses must remain on a budget to avoid spending their hard-earned money.
It includes non-covered room and board costs, expensive meals, and unexpected travel costs that the travel agency/hospital does not cover.
In other words, agencies won’t reimburse upgrades, extra amenities, or personal expenses unless negotiated beforehand.
Moreover, some assignments pay for standard travel and housing costs upfront, while others reimburse travel expenses.
For assignments that provide travel reimbursement, it’s crucial to pick a place and rental vehicle within budget.
It protects you from spending your income on non-negotiated costs, upgrades, or other expenses.
With that said, some travel nurses prefer a housing stipend if they can find affordable accommodations.
It’s because nurses can pocket the extra money for personal use!
Reimbursement may require keeping detailed receipts of everything you’ve purchased.
Pick the appropriate assignments and complete negotiations before accepting the position if you prefer room and board and travel expenses covered.
3. Less Familiarity/Stability With Work Locations
Travel nurses must adapt to new environments, people, and situations.
For those who aren’t extroverted or enjoy familiarity, traveling nursing isn’t as stable as working at a local hospital or clinic.
Travel nurses work on assignments lasting a few weeks to a few months.
Unfortunately, this provides little time to get familiar with your new environment and connect deeply with others.
Although some nurses prefer to stay on the move and avoid workplace politics, it’s much harder for nurses to develop a regular daily routine or establish lasting connections if they’re always traveling.
4. Suitcase Lifestyle
Not everyone is a fan of constantly moving, packing their bags, and leaving home.
Travel nursing is more than simply going to a new location for a few weeks or months.
It requires nurses to pack only their essentials and leave their home comforts.
If you love your home/apartment, car, and the local restaurants and entertainment in your town, you’ll have to leave them behind.
You’ll also have to give up your cozy couch, bed, T.V., and the comforts you’ve collected/purchased and live out of a suitcase until you get home.
Sure, you get to see new locations and meet people, but everything you bring with you is in your suitcase.
It means you’ll have no access to the things you love in your home or your town/city.
Furthermore, the more frequently you travel, the less time you have to enjoy the things you’ve worked hard to acquire.
Travel nursing is a trade-off that requires nurses to leave the familiarity of their town/city and trade it for the unexpected good and bad of a randomized suitcase lifestyle.
Because travel nurses get paid in the state of their employment, the taxes they’re required to pay varies from state to state.
For example, travel nurses have different tax rates when working in New York than in Texas or California.
Therefore, the more states a travel nurse works in a given year, the more diverse their taxes will be.
It’s also essential to determine and list your home city as this affects your taxes at the end of the year.
Travel nurses must keep records of their paychecks to track each state’s taxes to ensure they file taxes properly at the end of the year.
Discussing taxes with a CPA will make it easier to manage taxes and ensure state taxes are covered appropriately.
6. Medical Coverage and Benefits
Travel nurses have the opportunity to pick their assignments and work schedules.
However, it also means medical coverage and benefits such as 401k contributions depend on their agencies and work assignments.
Some nurses utilize different medical coverage policies to maintain healthcare coverage between assignments.
Poorly understanding your benefits and coverage can cost you money if not appropriately managed.
Moreover, you must consider the coverage and benefits granted when picking assignments to cover yourself when not working adequately.
7. Culture and Language Barriers
Travel nursing requires an open mind and adapting well to diverse cultures and language barriers.
It’s challenging for nurses who have difficulty adjusting to unfamiliar experiences.
Even nurses who work in diverse states with diverse backgrounds must adjust to unfamiliar locations, moods, mindsets, foods, and cultures.
Working in locations (towns and cities) with language barriers is also challenging in emergency settings when understanding patients’ needs are essential for ensuring proper care.
Although meeting people and experiencing different cultures is exciting, you must contemplate the challenges to overcome to provide exceptional patient care.
8. Work is Dependant on a Locations Needs
Despite the numerous benefits travel nursing offers, it isn’t always glamorous or fun.
To illustrate, travel nurses have numerous opportunities to pick their work assignments.
However, work assignments depend on a location’s needs, and you may compete with other nurses to land particular jobs.
To maintain a good salary, nurses must pick assignments they aren’t excited about in some situations.
It’s particularly true when work isn’t available in the locations you’d prefer to be employed.
To circumvent this, develop new skills as a travel nurse and build a reputation to obtain more assignment opportunities.
That said, even with a high skill level, it doesn’t mean that opportunities will be available exactly where your dream jobs are.
It means you’ll have to be flexible at times to ensure you earn an excellent salary.
Moreover, top-tier assignments aren’t always available for new nurses.
It takes time, networking, working with excellent travel nursing agencies, and developing skills to obtain desirable opportunities.
Travel nursing is a fantastic career for those with the right mindset and ability to leave everyone and everything behind for weeks or months.
That said, nurses must adapt to new environments, cultures, lifestyles, work conditions, regimens and foods.
Therefore, it would be best to consider the numerous pros and cons of travel nursing before taking the plunge and changing careers.
Hopefully, this list of pros and cons helps you better determine whether travel nursing is proper for you.