Travel Nursing Pros and Cons: Is It Worth It?

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It’s no secret that travel nursing is a popular choice amongst nurses these days. But is it right for you? What travel nursing pros and cons should you consider?

Chances are, if you are a nurse, you’ve definitely heard about the prospect of travel nursing. You may even know a few nurses currently doing it themselves.

This article will break down some pros and cons that come along with working as a travel nurse. This way, you can see if it may be a good fit for you!

Travel Nursing Pros And Cons

The number of travel nursing jobs grew by about 44% between 2018 and 2019, and for good reason.

There are lots of travel nursing pros and benefits. This is why so many people have chosen this career path lately.

Some of the benefits of travel nursing include:

  • Higher pay: Travel nurses make a much higher salary than typical floor nurses, even though they’re essentially doing the exact same job.
  • See new parts of the world: Many people choose travel nursing because it makes for one serious adventure.
  • Building your nursing network: By working at different hospitals, you’ll be expanding your network of nurse friends beyond your hometown to all over the country.
  • Housing provided: Many travel nursing contracts provide housing or include a housing stipend for nurses.

Clearly, there are lots of great parts to being a travel nurse.

However, just as with any job, there are some drawbacks. Some of the cons include:

  • The stress of traveling: Constantly being on the go can be incredibly stressful. It can also make it difficult to develop healthy habits.
  • Logistics, licensing, and varying contract conditions: Travel nursing contracts may vary and require adjusting.
  • Poor assignments: Travel nurses can sometimes get the most difficult daily patient assignments.
  • More challenging with pets and families: If you have kids, pets, or a spouse, travel nursing may be a bit more stressful. However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible
Travel Nursing Pros and Cons

4 Travel Nursing Pros

1. Travel Nurses Get Higher Pay

One of the best travel nursing pros is the higher pay.

The average travel nurse makes around $3,000 to $4,000 per week. However, this number can rise depending on:

  • Experience level
  • Specialty
  • Demand

Travel nursing salaries are much higher than what the typical floor nurse makes, even though you’ll likely do the exact same job.

For this reason, travel nursing offers an incredible opportunity for nurses to make a higher income.

2. Travel Nurses Get To Explore The World

Travel nursing is a serious adventure.

This type of nursing allows you to travel all over the country. You can see a new place every 3 months or so if you want to.

Ultimately, travel nursing opens the door to an adventurous, fast-paced lifestyle.

It’s a great option for younger nurses who want to see more of the world while also getting a great paycheck. 

3. Travel Nurses Can Expand Their Nursing Networks

Making friends with other nurses is an absolute necessity as a nurse. No one else understands the challenges that come with working as a nurse except for your nurse friends.

Luckily, travel nursing gives you the opportunity to expand your nursing network to new territories.

Just remember, it may be challenging to make friends right away as a travel nurse. You’ll always feel like an outsider when you enter somewhere new.

However, in time you’ll get more comfortable and meet great new people!

4. Travel Nurses May Get Free Housing

Some nursing contracts provide housing or include a housing stipend. This can make travel nursing feel even more feasible.

Knowing you’re housing is taken care of can be a great stress relief for many nurses.

Some travel nurses even take the housing aspect into their own hands.

For example, a nurse may travel in a camper or RV. This allows them to cash in on the housing stipend. Better yet, it lets nurses make additional money on top of their already higher-than-average salary.

4 Travel Nursing Cons

1. Travel Nurses Are Constantly Traveling

Many people choose travel nursing to add adventure to their life. However, the stress of constantly being on the go can quickly catch up to a person.

If you choose travel nursing for an extended period of time, it can be difficult to establish healthy habits. This is because your environment and work life are constantly changing.

Also, many travel nurses struggle with homesickness. This is especially true if they’ve left behind pets, spouse, or family.

This is why many nurses only do travel nursing for a temporary time frame or when they’re in a flexible time in their lives.

Another stressful aspect of travelling as a nurse is that the cost of living may vary depending on where you go. It can be difficult to plan ahead for this type of change.

For example, you may be sent to a certain town where food and living are much more expensive than you had expected. Luckily, your income will likely balance out these expenses.

2. Travel Nurses Must Consider Logistics and Licensing

Travel nursing may require you to acquire licensure in multiple states. Typically, you’ll have to have licensure for the state you’re in to work as a travel nurse.

However, some nurses have compact licenses. These allow them to practice in multiple states. However, not every state fits into this category.

You’ll want to make sure to research licensing prior to starting your travel nursing contract, as this could be an additional expense.

Some nursing contracts may present varying conditions. For example, you may have one travel nurse contract that does provide housing while another may not. 

3. Travel Nurses Can Get Poor Patient Assignments

Typically, travel nurses are utilized to fill staffing shortages. For this reason, most travel nurses should expect to be thrust into a fairly stressful work environment.

A lot of times, travel nurses are given less desirable patient assignments. This is because they usually don’t know anyone yet.

Despite these challenges, many nurses are still willing to take on the extra stress of traveling.

After all, nursing is a generally stressful field of work. Taking on a little additional stress is often worth the significantly higher income. 

4. Travel Nurses Must Balance Work and Lifestyle

If you’re someone with pets, kids, or a spouse, travel nursing can be even more stressful.

Many travel nurses bring their pets along on their travel assignments. However, this can be stressful for your pet and may not always be what’s best for them.

If you have a spouse with a career, they may not be able to come with you for your assignment. This can, of course, lead to additional stress. 

Taking kids along when travel nursing is certainly possible. However, it could present many challenges depending on the ages of your kids.

If you have younger kids and your spouse is able to be with them while you’re working, then travel nursing as a family is certainly feasible.

However, once kids go to school regularly, travel nursing may create some stress and challenges for them. This is because they’ll constantly have to move from place to place. 

Is Travel Nursing Worth It?

It’s true that travel nursing comes with some drawbacks, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t entirely worth it.

Determining if travel nursing is right for you really comes down to who you are and your current season of life.

Who Should Be A Travel Nurse?

Many nurses who find travel nursing works well for them are either single or have family that can come along with them.

If you do have kids and/or a spouse, it doesn’t mean travel nursing is impossible. It will help if your spouse can work remotely and your kids are not yet in school yet. However, travel nursing as a family is entirely feasible. 

Can You Handle The Stress Of Travel Nursing?

Many nurses are reluctant to try travel nursing. This is because they’re nervous about the stress of constantly being new at a job.

It’s a valid concern. However, most nursing jobs are stressful even after you’ve settled in and adjusted to them.

Nursing is a field of work that is unpredictable. You never know if you’re going to have a relaxed day or an entirely hectic one. This goes for travel nursing as well as regular nursing.

So, why not try travel nursing and make the extra money if your job will likely be stressful either way? 

The higher income is a big reason why most nurses choose travel nursing (and rightfully so!).

Nurses deserve a high income. This is because their jobs are incredibly demanding and crucial to the functioning of any healthcare system.

Some might argue that regular nurses are underpaid. Meanwhile, travel nurses are simply paid what they deserve to be making. 

Conclusion

If you’re trying to decide if travel nursing is for you, take some time to consider your current situation. Also, evaluate whether or not this is something you could handle.

Ultimately, if you don’t have real-life circumstances holding you back, then there’s no real reason to not take the leap.

If you’ve been able to handle the stress of being a regular nurse, then the stress of travel nursing is likely something you’ll be able to conquer as well.

Think the travel nursing pros outweigh the cons? Then start traveling today!

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