Are you interested in travel nursing, but worried whether it’ll be a good fit for you? You’re not alone.
When nurses consider joining a travel healthcare staffing organization, the unknown can be overwhelming. Several common questions that arise when considering such a career path includes:
- Which staffing organization is best for my personal and professional goals?
- Isn’t traveling best suited for the single professional?
- Am I made for this?
Fear of the unknown can take its toll, thus only a few take the leap. But before you decide temporary staffing isn’t for you, let’s break these questions down and explore each one further.
Choosing the right staffing organization is the most important step you’ll make. And it’s not only due to the most obvious – the benefits and advantages it offers – but having an open, trusting relationship with your recruiter should also be a top priority.
Let’s talk about the benefits first.
Most staffing organizations offer their temporary employees the option to enroll in pre-tax payroll deductions for medical, dental, and life insurance, cover professional liability insurance, and include per diem allowances or stipends for housing and/or other incidental costs. But extras to look into include earned sick leave, bereavement, voluntary contributions to a 401(k) plan, and - at your cost but a make-or-break decision for many - whether family or pets are allowed to travel with you.
When you partner with Barton Healthcare Staffing, you become a full-fledged, W-2 employee and not an independent contractor. BHS clinicians are paid weekly, earn sick time, and – as applicable – are eligible for the variety of benefits mentioned above. To learn more, contact a BHS recruiter.
Now, let’s talk about recruiters.
We all know recruiters are expected to consistently bring in recruits that match the organization’s needs, but is there harm in that? Of course not. All hospitals I’ve worked in had nurse recruiters and no one thought less of them, and yet the relationship ended as soon as I was hired. The relationship with travel staffing recruiters, however, goes beyond getting qualified candidates in the door. Your recruiter will be your most important contact once you’ve decided to sign on the dotted line, so having an ongoing trusting relationship with your recruiter is key.
Look for a recruiter who’s interested in helping you craft a personalized traveling career, has regulatory knowledge of the temporary staffing industry, utilizes pragmatic and thoughtful problem-solving skills, is comfortable being transparent and straightforward, answers your concerns in a timely manner, and ultimately is an advocate for your success.
With open dialogue and mutual respect, the relationship you share with your recruiter can prove to be your best weapon against frustration and disappointment.
Now the next concern – singles only?
Inspiring nursing travel blogs and social media accounts tout beautiful sceneries, adventurous journeys, new friendships, and gastronomy exploration that tug at the heartstrings of the wanderlust. But many contemporary blogs do not reflect the reality of the whole traveling nurse portrait.
As an RN with decades of experience in and around the healthcare setting, I’ve worked with and orientated dozens of travel nurses from all walks of life: singles, couples who traveled together, married with children, single with children, and one adventurous RN in her late 50’s who, with her retired husband, traveled across the United States in their RV.
All of them had their reasons for choosing the traveling career path, and all made perfect sense to me. Whether it was due to wanderlust or practical reasons, they all enjoyed the benefits not realized in traditional employment, such as:
- Being able to choose seasonal employment locations. Seattle in the summer is lovely, but the winter - not so much for sun-loving folks.
- Being able to decide whether to stick around for a while. I’ve worked with several travel nurses that chose to extend their commitment – one for over two years at a university trauma center. Alas, she decided to move across the country for another long-term opportunity but not before gaining valuable experience.
- Being able to choose between furnished housing or a housing stipend. Housing options can fluctuate so make sure you know the options before you commit.
- Being able to work close to home and still work as a travel nurse. Yes, this is a real possibility!
- Being able to take time off between commitments. The ability to enjoy a work-life balance is one of the best advantages of travel nursing.
If you’re traveling with family or pets, make sure you discuss this with your recruiter. Once again, communication is key. Once your recruiter knows the best options for you on a personal level, the options sent your way on a professional level should match both needs.
So, are you made for travel nursing?
After all you’ve read here, only you can answer that question. If you’re intrigued with the idea, continue to research, join a travel nursing forum, and contact a recruiter to discuss opportunities that don’t stretch you too far for your first experience.
Remember, you’re in control of your career. And if you decide to take the leap, send me a note and happy traveling!