In my opinion, travel nursing is increasingly becoming the most popular career path for many nurses and there's no doubting why. It offers diverse benefits all across the board and being in this profession allows for new levels of self-growth. Having the opportunity to travel for a living is a dream come true for most of us.
I spent most of my younger years hoping that one day I could see the world and find a way to make money while doing it. Travel nursing has been my biggest blessing and I hope it can be yours, too. Open your heart up to new possibilities and don’t be afraid to take a leap! Below are some of the highlights to this career.
1. Freedom of Travel
I personally think this is the biggest plus of this career! I'm such an adventurer at heart, and I love that travel nursing allows me to align my career with my hobby! You are able to see much more of the country with a travel position, rather than a permanent staff position.
I remember being a staff nurse and having to beg for my two weeks of vacation every year. As a travel nurse, everyday is basically a vacation! You get the luxury of choosing where you want to work, so in return you get to choose where you want to vacation. It's a blessing only working three days a week, leaving the other four days for exploring. I have been able to see so much of the country in my three years as a travel nurse.
Another benefit is that, after your contract is over, you are able to take time off before starting a new one. After I have completed my 13 weeks, I typically take a week or two off to explore surrounding cities/states that I wasn't able to get to while on assignment. When I was working in New Haven, CT, I took a week trip to Canada and was able to visit Niagara Falls! I look back on all my adventures and feel so blessed that this job has given me the life I have always dreamed of. I can say first hand that traveling is addicting. Once you see how beautiful other parts of the world are, you'll always be craving more!
There's no doubt that travel nurses typically bring home more money than staff nurses. A lot of this pay difference has to do with compensating for duel expenses and the "inconvenience" of moving every 13 or so weeks. Barton Healthcare Staffing offers a pay package that includes meal incidentals, housing stipends, travel reimbursement and license reimbursement on top of your hourly pay. Each specialty and hospital has different rates, but you're guaranteed to be financially set as a traveler.
In my few years as a traveler, I have financially succeeded more than I ever thought was possible at my age. I was able to pay my car and student loans off, buy a camper, donate to charity, and travel luxuriously. I never knew what I was missing out on as a staff nurse.
I remember when I took my first travel assignment and got my first paycheck. It was more than double what I was making as a full-time nurse. My mind was absolutely blown and, to this day, I still can't see myself giving up a career that gives me this much financial freedom.
Imagine how much you've changed as a person in the last year, five years, and so on. Then look at how proud you are to be the person you are today. I can thank travel nursing for shaping me into the passionate, carefree, adventurous person that I was always meant to be. I have been exposed to the ups and downs in this career, all which I thrived from. One thing I can stress is that, once you overcome difficulties that you may face on the road, you come back a stronger person, more confident that ever.
After just a year of travel nursing, I decided to go backpacking in Africa alone for six months. My friends and family thought I was crazy! But this career gave me so much confidence in myself that I was ready to take on the world, without fear. Don't be afraid to get outside your comfort zone and let yourself grow.
4. Meeting New People
This is my favorite part about traveling! I love meeting new people and being exposed to various cultures. Before I began this career, I was skeptical about moving so frequently and having to "start over" every time. From the outside looking in, this can be a deal-breaker for some. But I have to admit that I love the thrill of going somewhere new and not knowing anyone.
If you have an open heart and mind, the right people will always be brought into your life. It never fails that I always leave each assignment with lifelong friends. Some I met at work, and others I met through my hobbies. All of which helped me grow as a person and brought value into my life.
If you're scared that you will be lonely or bored because you don't know anyone, dig deeper, find the positives, and trust your journey. I promise that you won't regret being vulnerable and open to new relationships in your life!
5. Career Development
Being a travel nurse really exposes you to the nursing field in many different ways. Every hospital and unit you work at will be different from the previous. In my opinion, this is a huge plus because you get to see what areas you enjoy the most.
For my first travel assignment, I was put in the telemetry float pool in the biggest hospital in Nebraska. In a matter of 13 weeks, I don't think I worked on the same unit more than twice. I really enjoyed this as a new nurse because it helped me figure out which specialty I love the most. This career will make you a well rounded nurse. You'll learn new skills with each assignment you take and you'll be quicker to adapt to change.