By Marwa Hijazi
Guest writer for The Right Solutions
Same commute. Same shift. Same facility. Day after day. Year after year. Rinse and repeat.
If the thought of a job like that makes you break into a sweat, travel nursing might be the career booster for your adventurous spirit.
Because of the nationwide demand for quality nurses now and likely in the future, those who venture into travel nursing can enjoy choosing where they want to work and live for a specific period of time.
Then they move on to new adventures in new places, as often as they like.
Flexibility to explore
As a travel nurse, you may have a specialty area you prefer. Through your own networking, or with assistance from a recruiter or an agency, you search for short-term jobs in places of interest to you and work in that specialty.
Agencies typically have contracts with hospitals that outline payment rates and other requirements for staffing. Nurses work for the agency, not the hospital.
In addition to securing positions for nurses, agencies provide liability insurance and support for you if necessary.
Maybe you’ve lived on the East Coast but always wanted to explore the southwestern United States. So who says you can’t have a working vacation and find a job that interests you?
The duration of assignments may range from as few as eight weeks to as many as 26 and include a variety of clinical settings.
The process of securing a position may take just a few weeks, and many times your temporary employer will offer travel expenses, living arrangements, health insurance benefits and possibly end-of-contract bonuses. In some states, travel nurses may earn better-than-average salaries.
You’ll meet many new people and be exposed to a variety of doctors, co-workers, procedures and situations that will enhance your nursing skill set, likely in a fraction of the time it would take if you remained at one facility.
You might get the opportunity to job shadow in new areas and find you have an interest in or aptitude for a new segment of nursing you had not considered.
It’s not forever
And don’t forget some of the other perks of not being a permanent employee:
- You’re also getting familiar with a city or region, affording you better insight about whether you would want to live there later.
- As a travel nurse and employee of an agency and not the hospital, the agency is there to provide backing and protect your interests.
- Many travel nurses say they are able to avoid becoming immersed in the politics and ongoing dramas present in some facilities.
- Remember, if the situation is not panning out, you are not locked into it long-term.
Ticket to your future
If you find work as a travel nurse, you probably will use the Internet, your networking skills or a combination to get there. And you will need to continue to develop those skills to find more work as a travel nurse.
At each job location, you will work with a variety of people, each with their own skills and knowledge, their own experiences and backgrounds.
If you are open to constant learning, you can benefit from each contact, and cultivate the ones that can help you grow.
With connections in so many places, in so many regions, you have a broader network of people looking out for you and your future.
And when it comes time to “settle down,” you will have more information and contacts than most other job seekers.
Travel nursing allows you to feed your sense of adventure and your desire for personal and professional growth. It connects you to new people, places and challenges. It gives you the power of choice. Travel nursing is not an ordinary path, but one worth exploring.
What would be your ideal assignment length? What time span gives you enough of an opportunity to get to know an area, your coworkers and the job, and yet allow you the freedom to move on to new things?
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 Jacksonville University.