The Updated Pros and Cons of Travel Nursing
Travel nursing is a constantly growing career featuring many pros and cons.
In today’s world, the demand for travel nurses is increasing exponentially.
However, is traveling over the country truly worth it? Here are a few amazing benefits (and some setbacks) of becoming a travel nurse in our updated list!
1. Benefits and Earnings
PRO: While a regular nurse can make a little under $50,000 a year, travel nursing offers the opportunity to double that income. In addition to this excellent payout, travel nurses can also look forward to full reimbursements, healthcare and retirement benefits, frequent bonuses, tax breaks, as well as various discounts. On top of everything, the position also offers special travel nurse tax deductions.
CON: A travel nurse is not a salaried position, meaning that they cannot depend on incremental raises every year. However, with more experience, higher-paying assignments are opened up, which functions basically like a raise.
PRO: Due to the significant demand for travel nurses, this job position could be found in almost any city in the country. For this reason, travel nurses get the exciting opportunity to pick and choose their favorite city to live in.
Moreover, as a travel nurse, you can change your location depending on your needs, which means that your job is just one endless adventure. Whether you’re in the mood for a bustling city like New York or a slow, small town, you can almost certainly get a position as a travel nurse there.
In addition to city preferences, travel nurses may also choose their location based on hobby preferences. Let’s say you enjoy skiing. You can easily apply for a travel nurse position in Colorado, which is a mix of beautiful ski resorts and advanced hospitals. You can base your assignments off of your interests and hobbies, and pick and choose your adventure as a travel nurse.
CON: Although the adventure is refreshing to many, a routine is far more appealing to some. If you enjoy one steady scenery over continually changing situations, travel nursing may not be for you!
3. Skill Development and Growth
PRO: The travel nurse lifestyle is great for honing your practice in a variety of different environments. Instead of staying at a hospital with one set of procedures, a travel nurse can get a variety of experiences across different sized hospitals, different cultures, and different teams across the nation.
Specifically, different areas of the country will offer different diseases, emergency procedures, and special operations. As a travel nurse, you have the chance to hone your skills to match areas of need across the country. Even if you don’t plan on staying as a travel nurse, your acquired skills will undoubtedly help you excel at traditional nursing as well.
CON: Traditionally, employees who stick with one employer are more likely to gain steady professional experience. To those who would instead master the skills from one company over skipping from employer to employer, traditional nursing may be more appealing.
4. Freedom and Opportunity
PRO: As a regular nurse, you may be restricted to your hospital’s vacation policies. However, travel nursing allows you to choose your times off and pick up assignments at your disposal. Because of this, it is possible to juggle travel nursing with having a great family life.
Travel nursing is also great for times of emergencies. If something comes up that requires you to take months of time off of work, you don’t need to worry about losing your job. Instead, you can choose assignments that are close to your family members or your place of need.
CON: Although travel nursing allows you to spend time with your family, it may be a hard life for some who would rather live with their family all the time rather than have the ability to take time off to be with them.
5. Growing Demand
PRO: Due to the high demand for travel nurses in many cities, you don’t have to worry about being out of a job. Furthermore, you have an excellent opportunity to pick and choose places of demand that appeal to you. Some fantastic examples include San Francisco, which offers the highest salary in travel nursing, as well as Chicago, where you can enjoy a vibrant city full of art and festivals.
Even if your preferred cities do not have any job openings open at the moment, you can always choose a different assignment for the time being and then return to your dream city in the future.
CON: Although it is rare, sometimes only high demand areas are offering available positions. This means that sometimes travel nurses will be temporarily confined to a few options in areas of high demand. However, new opportunities are constantly coming up, and any delay in the availability of jobs will sure to be temporary.
6. Steering Clear of Work Politics
PRO: One of the more undesirable aspects of working in a hospital is having to navigate politics and management conflicts. For the average nurse, you interact with the same people and problems regularly, meaning it’s almost impossible to not become involved in drama.
For travel nurses, being able to move from location to location allows you to sidestep all the politics and focus all your attention on patient care. If you take an assignment at a hospital or clinic where the tension is more prevalent, short-term contracts mean you don’t have to deal with that environment for long.
CON: Learning to adjust to being new at each hospital may require a learning curve. It is a well-known fact that burnout and compassion fatigue affects many nurses, but you can lessen the effects by only spending 13 weeks at a time in any given location.
7. Exploring Different Specialties
PRO: Working in the same specialty long-term can become monotonous, especially when there are only a select few specialties available in your local hospital. Travel nurses have access to a virtually unlimited selection of specialties to choose from.
For example, have you ever been interested in labor and delivery? As a travel nurse, you are able to work at some of the best hospitals in terms of caring for women who are going through the stages of birth and gain valuable experience.
CON: There’s no real con to having the opportunity to try new specialties!
PRO: Working as a travel nurse relieves you of one of the most significant financial burdens people face: housing. In most cases, travel nurse housing comes along with your assignments. It’s also the perfect option for anyone who isn’t committed to finding a location for their permanent residency.
Travel nurse housing grants you the opportunity to make evaluations of all the locations you stay in throughout the country and establish what you like and don’t like about each place; you can later make an informed decision about which location best suits you and your needs.
CON: With constant travel comes the constant packing and transfer. This can be a burden especially when you carry your life around with you. Sometimes it is better to travel compact or with the family to help with the constant travel.
9. Resume Boosting
PRO: Becoming a travel nurse adds a unique and expansive job experience to your resume. They have a unique skill set that results from being employed at both a small, specialized hospital setting and a large teaching hospital, one that most other nurses cannot claim.
All of these experiences and skills will improve your nursing abilities, and beyond that, make you a seasoned interviewee with an impressive resume.
CON: Updating your resume constantly may take more effort on your part.
10. Connecting with New People
PRO: Travel nursing is most suitable for people who love to connect with those outside of their familiar community. At every new hospital, you’ll become familiar with people from all walks of life, who you would likely not have met otherwise. Creating connections in every city you reside in allows you to establish a wide range of friendships, in locations all across the country.
CON: Constantly traveling may mean not getting to see your hometown friends as often as you like. However, you can spend your longer breaks between assignments spending time with them without the interruption of work.
11. Trying Out New Things
PRO: With constant traveling, you will experience several different hospitals, cities, and employers. Certain times you won’t fit but other times you will. Finding that good fit with adventure is highly possible with travel nursing. In some instances, maybe the city fits but not the employer. Having a contract allows you to find a new employer that is a better fit for you, after all, is said and done. And when you do find that right fit, you can always extend your contract.
CON: Trial and error could lead to a lot of errors. Having to push through a wrong fit can drag the assignment on mentally and emotionally. But pushing through and working for a better tomorrow can lead to great learning experiences.
PRO: Licensing has slowly received better courtesy of the Nurse Licensure Compact Administration. Slowly adding states, they have amassed a group of states where an NLC license covers every state that is within the NLC. This makes it far easier to find jobs within those states. You just have to be sure to renew your license properly when it is time. At Skillgigs, we see how hard you work and know that sometimes jobs in non-NLC states are needed. We help with these licenses by offering licensure reimbursement for any licenses you may need.
CON: Some states that are not within the NLC sometimes have a long process when it comes to getting licenses. This may take months to get the license you want. Keeping track of every state license can also come with an organizational need and when you have 5 or more.
Weighing the Pros and Cons
Being a travel nurse grants you the privilege of having an exciting and flexible lifestyle. Beyond that, it is an excellent way to expand your career and experiences.
So, if you enjoy:
- Benefits and Earnings
- Skill Development and Growth
- Freedom and Opportunity
- Growing Demand
- Steering Clear of Work Politics
- Exploring Different Specialties
- Resume Boosting
- Connecting with New People
- Trying Out New Things
Then the travel nurse lifestyle may be suitable for you! To try out Skillgigs today! Signup here!!