Travel nursing is one of the many potential career options available for registered nurses. It’s also a career option with many beneficial aspects to consider. If travel nursing interests you, Marquette University’s Direct Entry Master of Science in Nursing program for non-nurses opens up your career options into the future, and can also help qualify you for this dynamic career. In this article, we’ll look at 9 benefits of travel nursing so you can determine if it might be the right career option for you.
What Does It Mean to Be a Travel Nurse?
There is a real need for travel nurses in facilities across the country. When a facility experiences staffing shortages, travel nurses fill those gaps to ensure patients still receive the care they need over a time period agreed upon between them (or their agency) and the organization they will be working within. Once the assignment is over, travel nurses may have the option of extending their contract or moving onto the next location and facility.
While all kinds of travel nurses are needed, there is a higher demand for certain specialty areas. For example, high-demand specialties include but are not limited to ICU, operating room, emergency room, labor and delivery, telemetry and medical/surgical. If you are interested in becoming a travel nurse, we suggest looking into these in-demand specialties to ensure that you have more options and opportunities as a travel nurse.
Travel Nursing Benefits
While the lifestyle of a travel nurse may not be for everyone, it’s worth considering the benefits of being a travel nurse. If you find this route intriguing, read on to discover 9 of the top travel nursing benefits.
1. Travel Opportunities
The fact that you get to travel is probably the most obvious advantage of travel nursing. Travel nurses complete short-term assignments at healthcare facilities all around the country. You can even take assignments in many foreign countries.
The typical assignment in the United States lasts 13 weeks. This gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture. You’ll have ample time to explore what each location has to offer.
If you are offered a contract extension at a particular location, you can choose to stick around for an additional negotiated-upon period if desired. Of course, you’re always free to leave at the completion of your contract should you decide it’s time to explore elsewhere.
2. Build Your Professional Network
As you move from assignment to assignment, you’re going to meet many new colleagues. You’ll meet both permanent staff and fellow travelers at the hospitals you are assigned to. You’ll also meet many recruiters as you navigate the industry to find the jobs you want.
All of this makes travel nursing an amazing way to expand your professional network. The importance of a strong professional network should not be underestimated. From career advancement to professional support, your professional network can have a profound impact on your overall career. Travel nursing offers one of the best opportunities to quickly build a broad network.
3. Develop Your Career
Travel nursing also offers an opportunity for career development. As a travel nurse, you’ll work at a wide range of different healthcare facilities from small rural facilities to large urban trauma centers. As a result, you can be exposed to a much broader set of working conditions than you would if you worked at one facility for a long period of time. You’ll be trained on different electronic medical record systems and gain experience with different types of equipment. It’s also possible that you’ll work with different patient populations. All of this will broaden your nursing skill set.
In addition, you’ll gain new insight into certain aspects of facility administration. You’ll go through an orientation period at each new facility you work. You may work at Magnet hospitals, teaching hospitals or trauma hospitals. Each new experience will allow you to observe and learn about different administrative approaches. You’ll gain a unique perspective that will help you provide valued contributions throughout the course of your career.
Flexibility is another amazing benefit of travel nursing. During your time at any given facility, both the agency and the hospital, of course, expect travel nurses to work every assigned shift, with the exception of the occasional sick day. That said, it is possible to arrange for time off during your contract.
While the flexibility during an assignment is comparable to most other jobs, travel nursing’s flexibility is realized in the time between contracts. Travel nurses are under no obligation to continually work. Therefore, it’s possible to schedule extended periods of time off between contracts.
Some travel nurses use this time to take extended vacations abroad. Others use it to return home to visit friends and family. Some use it to focus on entrepreneurial interests. Many travel nurses use the flexibility to focus on schoolwork while advancing their nursing education.
5. Give Locations and Employers a Test Run
If you’re looking to move to a new location, but aren’t sure where, travel nursing can help you decide. You can use travel nursing to visit new locations for extended periods. This can help you determine whether you want to live there long-term.
Of course, you’ll also be able to test out potential employers. You’ll be able to determine whether the team and culture are a good fit before committing to a permanent position. As a result, travel nursing can help you find the right job in a desirable location.
6. Serve Populations in Need
Most nurses choose the nursing field because of a deep desire to help people in some of their most vulnerable moments. If you possess that desire to help, travel nursing may be a great option, as it gives you an opportunity to use your skills in a place that needs your help. Because travel nurses often travel to areas affected by the nursing shortage, those patients need the care you’re providing. Being able to serve in these areas means you can amplify the already significant impact you’ll have on people’s lives.
7. Gain New Skills
Working in a wide variety of facilities and locations will allow you to greatly increase your nursing skills. Additionally, travel nursing also gives you an opportunity to develop skills outside of nursing. For example, working in different areas of the country with various patient populations helps you develop a deeper level of connection and understanding at the bedside with patients. Navigating interactions also improves your communication and problem-solving skills. Furthermore, learning how to travel and acclimate to new places every 13 weeks can help you to develop a sense of self-confidence.
8. Variability Breaks Up Monotony
While having a routine can be great, some people get restless after staying at one position in one place for long stretches of time. If this is you, travel nursing provides a well-paying, stable job that allows you to move around and have new experiences every few months. This lifestyle can be long-term for some, but many others find that they eventually want to settle down and find a more permanent position. If you do eventually decide to stay somewhere more permanently, the experience from travel nursing can only help your job prospects.
9. Explore Your Interests
The reality is not every facility will be your favorite place to work. However, because assignments are only temporary, you won’t have to work at an undesirable place for long. Working in each assignment provides some valuable information about your preferences in the workplace. On the other hand, you may have a few assignments that you love that match what you want for your career. Trying out all types of facilities and work environments can help you to find your perfect match if you decide to start looking for a long-term position.
Are You Ready to Become a Travel Nurse?
Now that you are aware of some of the amazing benefits of travel nursing, what are you waiting for? If you’re ready to start your journey toward this exciting and dynamic career, Marquette University can help you get there. We offer a Direct Entry MSN program for non-nurses that can be completed in as little as 19–21 months. Contact us today to learn more.