Despite the COVID-19 pandemic slowing down (but not yet disappearing), there is still an increasing interest in travel nursing and nursing assignments. Travel nurses and other traveling temporary healthcare professionals are currently in a great position for higher paying assignments and expand upon their current careers.
However, not everyone is sold on the idea of a short travel assignment. Many people prefer the traditional long-term assignment model that’s more similar to a traditional permanent assignment.
But how do you decide what type of assignment length is right for you? Do you want a short-term assignment or a longer-term assignment?
We’re here to talk about the pros and cons of both for anyone who’s working in healthcare. Read on to learn more.
Benefits of a Short-Term Assignment
So why would someone want to do short-term assignments as a travel nurse? It seems like a lot of work to travel everywhere, right? Are there any benefits?
Seeing Many New Places
One of the best things about being a travel nurse or allied provider in general is that you get to see so many new places that you’d never be able to see as a permanent employee.
When you take short-term assignments, you’re able to see more places in a shorter amount of time. You can see the entire country while getting paid for it.
Working in a Variety of Unique Environments
As a short-term travel healthcare professional, you get to work in all different types of unique environments which will give you valuable experience and CV content.
You may get to work with unique patients and learn a thing or two from doctors and nurses who have specialized practices and your assignment objectives will always be unique and interesting (which may prevent burnout).
As a traveling healthcare professional, you should always keep networking in mind. You’ll be able to quickly network at all of your host locations during a short-term assignment.
During short-term assignments, you get to decide when you work with more flexibility. Long-term assignments can be more variable depending on why the pot is open. For example, if you’re covering for a sick or injured healthcare professional, you may have to stay longer.
You can avoid things like public holidays and personal vacations with short-term assignments.
Downsides of a Short-Term Assignment
So with those benefits in mind, what could possibly be bad about short-term assignments? It’s not a perfect gig. Here are a few potential problems you may have.
No Time to Get Comfortable
This is one major downside of short-term assignments, but not everyone will feel that way. Some people love the idea of picking up and moving whenever they feel the urge.
Others prefer to get comfortable. They want to stay in apartments rather than hotels or shared accommodations. They want to build relationships. This is more difficult with short-term assignments.
Potential Financial Complications
It’s no secret that travel nurses get paid well. While there’s no base salary, income tends to be reliable and many travel healthcare workers are able to live comfortably with less time working. Pay also tends to reflect the local cost of living which is helpful if your “home base” is a more affordable area.
Benefits of a Long-Term Assignment
So why would someone choose a long-term assignment instead of the fast-paced life of short-term assignments? Isn’t that too similar to a permanent assignment?
Here are a few reasons.
More Comfortable Accommodations
When you take a longer-term assignment, you’re able to get comfortable. Longer-term travel nurses tend to choose furnished apartments so they can unpack and relax.
They’re also able to learn more about where they’re living when they’re there for a longer period of time.
The Ability to Build Relationships with Staff and Patients
Many medical professionals enjoy building relationships with patients, and this is difficult on a short-term assignment. Longer-term assignments allow professionals to get to know the patients.
They also allow professionals to build relationships with nurses and doctors on the team. This is fantastic for networking and overall comfort while on each job assignment.
Downsides of a Long-Term Assignment
So why wouldn’t you want to take a long-term assignment? It’s true that they can be more comfortable, but they’re not for everyone. Here are some downsides to keep in mind.
Fewer Travel Opportunities
People on long-term assignments still get to travel, but traveling is less frequent. They may be on a single assignment for many months at a time, which means they don’t get the same fast-paced lifestyle as short-term travelers.
With this in mind, because they get to spend more time in each place, they may get more out of the experience.
Limited Ability to Return Home
Many travel medical professionals don’t have much keeping them at home, but this isn’t true for everyone.
People on short-term assignments have the flexibility to return home when they need to. Longer-term assignments make it difficult to return home and see friends and family members on a whim.
Which Travel Nurse Assignment Length Is Right for You?
To figure out whether you want to focus on long or short-term assignments, you may have to try both. A long-term assignment offers more comfort with less flexibility, while a short-term assignment is good for anyone who wants to see as many new things as possible.
There’s no reason that you can’t switch back and forth between the two depending on your desired lifestyle.
Healthcare facilities are still feeling the effects of current nursing shortages conditions while trying to staff nurses. At Barton Healthcare Staffing, we are a travel nursing agency with nurse recruiters that help match travel nurse placements that are right for them. Check out our job board to find your next ideal assignment.