By Marwa Hijazi
Guest Writer for The Right Solutions
Nurses who truly enjoy providing care to others, but become weary in the day-to-day monotony of working in the same healthcare facility, have probably considered a career as a traveling nurse. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about travel nursing that may cloud the reality of what it is really like to work in such a dynamic and rewarding specialty.
Here is a list of the most common travel nursing misconceptions and the reality behind each of them.
Myth 1: It’s Impossible to Get the Location You Want
While circumstances may not align for you to get your first-choice location immediately, that doesn’t mean you’ll be sent to an undesirable locale. Travel nurses are needed in cities and towns of all sizes, across the entire country.
Unless you seriously limit your options, there’s a strong chance you’ll end up in an area that you can actually be excited about. Enjoy the opportunity, expand your horizons and immerse yourself in the new area and its culture.
Myth 2: Travel Nurses are Constantly Relocating
If you love the jet-set lifestyle, you can be free to relocate as much as you want, but that is certainly not required. As a travel nurse, you have the liberty to decide how much you want to locate to new geographic areas.
Most assignments last approximately 13 weeks, but some can be shorter or longer. You may even be able to extend an assignment or move to a facility in the same city. This is a level of flexibility that most professionals can only dream about.
Myth 3: Travel Nursing Isn’t a Stable Source of Income
This misconception couldn’t be further from the truth. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the demand for registered nurses overall will rise 19% by the year 2022, compared with 11% for all other occupations.
It’s true that working as a travel nurse requires more advanced planning and financial preparation than working as a traditional nurse. This is due to possible downtime between assignments and the remote possibility that a contract could get canceled, but you can certainly enjoy a strong sense of job security.
Plus, in addition to a generous salary, travel nurses typically receive great benefits. This might include travel reimbursement, housing, bonuses for referring other travel nurses, completing assignments, and a helpful per diem allowance. If you accept an assignment in an area with a low cost of living, you’ll appreciate even more for your money.
Myth 4: Travelers Get the Worst Shifts
It’s simply not true that you can expect to receive a schedule of reliably awful shifts and no days off when you’re a travel nurse. The hospital you’re working for and its staff are glad you’re there to help, so they want you to be happy.
Of course, you will be required to have a flexible schedule, so discuss your needs with the hiring manager during the interview to make sure you’re on the same page. Don’t be afraid to negotiate with an occasional night or weekend shift in return for the specific days and times you know you’ll want off.
Myth 5: Travel Nurses Are Stealing Jobs from Local Nurses
In reality, the exact opposite is true. Hospitals typically use travel nurses because there is a shortage of trained professionals in their area. Additionally, they may require your assistance to fill in the gaps on a seasonal basis. By no means will you be taking the job of a local nurse in need of work. Your job is to make the lives of the local nurses – and patients – easier by lending a helping hand.
Myth 6: Permanent Staff is Unwelcoming to Travel Nurses
If you’re afraid the permanent nursing staff is going to be less-than-inviting, you’ll be relieved to hear that this is usually not the case at all. Nurses working in a busy or understaffed hospital are often tired, stressed and overworked. If you’re a team player with a strong skill set, you can be certain you’ll be welcomed with wide open arms. Travel nurses offer the assistance permanent staffers need to perform at their best, while enjoying a balanced life.
If you’re looking for a “non-traditional” nursing job and don’t mind being out on the road, working as a travel nurse might be your ideal career choice. This job allows you the ability to genuinely care for people and gives you the freedom to spend time in areas of the country you may otherwise never get to visit.
If you’re getting burned-out by the same old call lights and routines of your everyday healthcare facility, or that boring break room you rarely have time to sit down in, consider looking into the dynamic world of travel nursing and expand your professional and personal horizons.
Marwa Hijazi writes about topics related to health and nursing on behalf of Bisk Education, a facilitator of education programs online for universities such as Villanova University and Jacksonville University.