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Pros & Cons of Travel Nursing

May 17, 2022

Working as a travel nurse is an excellent career choice for those who appreciate spontaneity as well as traveling to new and exciting places. But this career choice is not for everyone. 

To help make your decision easier, here are a few pros and cons of travel nursing to help you out. You may find that traveling all over the country and caring for patients is the best choice for you. 

On the other hand, you may find that travel nursing offers too many negatives to be worth it. 

Read through the following list, then decide. 

What are the Pros of Travel Nursing?

Spontaneous Adaptability Enables You to Live the Life You Want

As a travel nurse, you are not required to sign a work contract unless you specifically request to do so. As a result, you have the freedom to pick wherever you want to go. This makes it simple to relocate to any state or even elsewhere around the world. Few other jobs afford you that level of opportunity.

Imagine you are working in San Francisco, but your mother-in-law, who lives in Arkansas, becomes ill and requires your assistance. As a travel nurse, you can be on a plane within days, ready to start your new job in an Arkansas medical facility. That puts you directly within care distance of your ailing family member while you get paid handsomely in the process.

Or maybe you’ve always wanted to live in New York City but never had the chance. As a travel nurse living and working in Michigan, you have the option of requesting a transfer to New York. If you are approved for the transfer, you may be able to begin your new job immediately. If this is not the case, you can always end your current contract in Michigan and start a new one in New York, if you so desire.

Yes, the travel nurse lifestyle can be rewarding if you're the type of person who covets constant change.

You Can Often Travel with Family and Pets 

One major benefit of travel nursing is the ability to take your spouse, kids, and even your pets with you when you begin your new job in the new location. While this isn’t always feasible for some families, especially those with little ones still in school, it can be life-changing for those without kids who crave spontaneity and a new way of life.

You Can Escape Hospital Politics 

Many nurses complain that the politics in the medical facilities they work in make relationships difficult to manage. Rumors get started, bad blood festers, and soon you're left wanting to be anywhere else in the middle of your shift.

Working various travel nursing jobs means you can skip hospital politics entirely. Because travel nurses temporarily settle in medical facilities around the country, they aren't forced to deal with hospital politics like staff nurses. This lets you focus on the job at hand, which includes tending to the patients in your care and furthering your travel nursing career. 

Traveling to New Locations Can Simultaneously Boost Your Earnings

When comparing the salaries of various nursing roles, travel nurses have the possibility to make more money. Not just a little more money, but significantly more. You not only get paid a higher salary as a travel nurse, but the job often comes with a benefits package that includes comprehensive reimbursements and incentives, allowing you to make bank while you travel to new locales.

The perks of the job differ depending on location and the specifics mentioned in your contract. Just know that the majority of travel nurses are provided with free lodging or given monthly tax-free stipends to use toward housing costs. Talk about savings!

Additionally, all transportation expenditures, including travel to and from work, as well as any relocating charges that may be incurred, are typically paid as well.

The majority of travel nurse staffing agencies provide luxurious accommodations for their employees. They also manage cross-state or cross-country moves, which includes hiring movers. That allows you to save even more when transferring your belongings from point A to point B when taking on a new travel assignment. 

Additionally, the possibility to obtain sign-on incentives makes travel nursing even more financially advantageous than staff nursing positions. For instance, when signing a new employment contract, it is not uncommon for travel nurses to receive sign-on incentives ranging from $5,000 to $10,000.

Travel Nursing Gives You the Security of Having a Stable Job

As a travel nurse, you'll get to enjoy long-term work stability. That can go a long way toward alleviating any mental and financial anxieties you may have about providing for yourself and any dependents you may have.

Travel Nurse Jobs Give You More Opportunities to Advance Your Career  

Travel nurses have wonderful opportunities to advance their careers while establishing solid reputations. With experience comes the ability to choose your schedule and work fewer weekends. That type of freedom and progression isn’t always possible as a permanent, on-site nurse. That means, if you hope to break through the glass ceiling you’ve found yourself under, becoming a travel nurse is definitely the way to go.

As you can see, there are many advantages to becoming a travel nurse. More money, greater opportunity, and room for advancement are only the beginning

Having said that, travel nursing does have some drawbacks. Let’s explore those now.

What are the Cons of Travel Nursing? 

You May Become Lonely as a Travel Nurse

Not every travel nurse has the option of bringing their family along for the ride. Furthermore, at the very least, travel nurses are required to part with old acquaintances while making new ones on the road.

While travel nursing assignments let you increase your earnings, when you don't have somebody with whom to share your experiences, all the opportunities you’re afforded might feel hollow.

Socializing and networking with other nurses, on the other hand, can help with alleviating any loneliness you might feel. You can also become a member of an international nursing organization, which makes you part of a community no matter where in the world you happen to be.

Cross-State Licensing Issues Can Be a Major Pain

As a travel nurse, you must have a valid nursing license to work anywhere you provide care. As you are probably aware, it’s not always easy to get a license at the drop of a hat.

However, many travel nurses work with travel nurse agencies that can assist with obtaining the licensing you need. This helps to alleviate stress and gives you a chance to relocate quickly, even if the new medical facility is in a state where you’re not currently licensed.

You May Have Limited Career Options

Certain jurisdictions collaborate to make it easier for travel nurses to give their services to the public.

Other states, on the other hand, require you to complete demanding and time-consuming licensing requirements before you can begin working, which could end up limiting your career options.

Here is where it also pays to work with a travel nursing staffing agency. Some agencies give you exclusive access to new jobs before anyone else gets to see them. They also maintain relationships with hiring managers around the country, putting your resume at the top of the shortlist pile. It depends on which agency you work with, but the right one can give you all the opportunities you need to further your travel nursing career.

Floating Schedules Can Be Frustrating

If you’ve ever worked in nursing before, you know all about "floating timetables". This means you will "float" to different departments within the same hospital. This becomes a problem when the departments you’re required to work in aren’t necessarily the ones specified in your employment agreement or related to your primary focus.

What it boils down to is that, as a floating travel nurse, you may find yourself handling job duties you don’t prefer, which can be a drag. Due to the varied nature of travel nurse scheduling, there is a good probability that you will be required to work these types of floating shifts throughout your career.

On the other hand, if you are the type who enjoys variety in your job, a floating schedule may be right up your alley. You might learn new things, meet interesting people, and provide different levels of care than you’re accustomed to. It’s all about perspective.

As a Travel Nurse, Insurance Coverage Sometimes Changes

Another snag in the travel nursing industry is the need to switch insurance policies when you leave a job. Anxiety can arise as a result. You’ll then be forced to change to a new policy when the next job begins. Staff nurses are not required to deal with this issue in any way.

All nurses, including travel nurses, have the option of purchasing private insurance by paying out of pocket. If you decide to go this route, you won’t be left without coverage should you end a contract without immediately beginning another.

Of course, not everyone is interested in pursuing private insurance coverage.

Becoming a Travel Nurse is Not for Everyone

By now you should realize that there are both pros and cons of travel nursing. Let's recap.

The benefits of travel nursing include the ability to travel to new locations, sometimes with your family in tow, the opportunity is there to make more money, and you’ll meet all kinds of new people wherever you end up. You also have a stable job, as travel nursing is always in high demand. And lastly, the sky's the limit as far as advancing your career. Those are the pros.

The cons can be tough to take for many. Licensing headaches, insurance snags, floating schedules, and loneliness are some of the drawbacks you will likely face as you progress through your career.

With the Right Travel Nurse Agency, Travel Nursing Might Be Right for You

But as we mentioned, working with travel nursing agencies can alleviate many of the disadvantages travel nurses face. The right agency can put you in contact with the perfect healthcare facilities in locations where you would love to live. You can get assistance with obtaining licensing when you need it, and your resume is often the first to land on a hiring manager’s desk.

If you are someone who enjoys helping others and you crave novelty, travel nursing is the way to go. It’s all about finding the right staffing agency for your needs. Turns out, you’re in luck.

ProLink Can Help You Become a Travel Nurse Starting Today

Prolink Healthcare Staffing helps individuals like you pursue their dream jobs like travel nursing. We can give you access to jobs before anyone else and put you in contact with hiring managers who need travel nurses ASAP.

We can help with licensing and give you advice on how to sign a contract that benefits you.

We can even help you get a travel nursing job where you won't have to uproot your life and leave your loved ones behind. 

Travel nursing is an excellent career choice for you if you appreciate spontaneity as well as traveling to new places.

If you want a higher salary and all the perks that come with being a travel nurse, including housing stipends and other important perks, you will want to start the process of becoming a ProLink travel nurse right away.

To get started, create a profile to help us learn more about you and your career goals. If you have questions, such as what a floating schedule entails, or how to obtain private insurance so your coverage never lapses, we can help with that too. Once you create your profile, and we’ve reviewed it, one of our staffing consultants will get back to you as soon as possible.

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