Travel nurses are in high demand — there is a shortage of qualified nurses in the United States, and more than 500,000 experienced RNs will retire from the workforce within the next four years.1 The American Nurses Association (ANA) states that there will be far more nursing jobs in 2022 than any other profession, and without a dependable pool of local candidates, hospitals, nursing homes, and other medical facilities are hiring travel nurses to care for their patients.2
If you are considering a career as a travel nurse, this is the perfect time for you to make the switch. With flexible hours, fewer responsibilities, and higher rates of pay than traditional RN positions, travel nurse jobs are more lucrative than ever before. But every career has its challenges, and travel nursing is no different; here are five things that you should think about before you become a travel nurse:
You Need To Have The Right Qualifications
Like any RN job, you will need an associate’s degree in nursing or a bachelor’s degree in nursing to become a travel nurse. You will also need to complete the NCLEX-RN and gain 1-2 years of on-the-job experience before a nurse staffing agency will hire you for a position. Candidates with six months of experience can reach out to a recruiter to start the application process, but they will have to wait before they are eligible for a travel nurse contract.
You Are Going To Spend A Lot Of Time On The Road
Travel nurses are hired on a contractual basis, with assignments that typically last for 13 weeks. When the contract ends, you can take on another position at a different hospital in the United States, but travel nurse assignments rarely lead to full-time positions at the locations that you have worked at.
If you want to become a travel nurse, you need to be prepared for the physical, mental, and emotional toll of moving from place to place. As you make new friends, professional connections, and memories in an assigned location, you will get ready to transition to a new position; the nurses who thrive in this fast-paced lifestyle are open to new experiences and comfortable with change.
You Will Work In A Different Professional Environment
When you become a travel nurse, every assignment will be a new and exciting challenge. Many of the hospitals that you will travel to will be understaffed, and your role as a travel nurse will be to stand in the gap for the employees that work there. In most cases, you will be a welcome addition to their short-term staff; in some cases, you find that you are treated differently.
Make sure that you understand the role that you will play as a travel nurse in a local or regional hospital. The management team at your office will have different set of expectations for you than they will for the RNs and CNAs who work there, and you have to find your natural place in their office environment. When your assignment ends, you will be able to move on without feeling guilty about leaving your coworkers behind.
You Are Going To Make Different Financial Decisions
Travel nurse jobs come with a few perks, like flexible schedules, free or subsidized short-term housing, and a higher hourly rate than most traditional RN roles. With fewer long-term expenses, you will probably earn more money as a travel nurse than you would if you decided to work for a local hospital.
But with more money comes more responsibilities, and you are going to have to make different financial decisions than you would if you were a traditional RN. When you work on a contractual basis, your next assignment is never guaranteed.
To make sure that you will always have a stable income, you can save some of the money that you earn from every paycheck. If worse comes to worst, you’ll have the resources that you need until you find your next position.
You Will Have A New Sense Of Purpose
Travel nurses have the opportunity to treat patients in a wide range of settings, and their presence will always play a vital role in the success and financial stability of the medical facilities that they work for. Like many of the RNs who have successfully transitioned to travel nurse jobs, you may find a new sense of purpose as a medical practitioner. With thousands of job opportunities at local and regional medical facilities, it’s never been easier to find a travel nurse job with a nursing staff agency — click on the button below to start the application process.