Top 5 Travel Nurse Benefits

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Written by Ayana Dunn, BSN, RN Content Writer, IntelyCare
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Travel nursing is a unique and exciting niche that offers a lifestyle many can only dream of. Not only do travel nurses help fill much needed staffing shortages, but there are plenty of travel nurse benefits that make this job well worth your consideration. Let’s explore what a travel nurse is, how to become one, the top five benefits, and a few drawbacks.

What Is a Travel Nurse?

A travel nurse is an independent contractor who temporarily fills staffing gaps at various healthcare facilities. Assignments are usually 13 to 26 weeks. These nurses are hired by travel nurse agencies like Aya Healthcare or Cross Country Healthcare that find the assignments, negotiate the contracts, and help the nurse settle into the new position.

How to Become a Travel Nurse

After completing nursing school, nurses must pass the NCLEX-RN and work as an RN for at least one year. Prior experience is crucial as travel nurses will likely receive little to no orientation because they are alleviating a critical staffing shortage. You’ll have to be ready to hit the ground running, and past experience can prepare you to provide safe care. Learn more about how to become a travel nurse.

Travel Nurse Benefits

1. Opportunities to Explore the Country — and Yourself

Travel nursing provides the benefits that you enjoy from travel in general. You are exposed to new landscapes, new ways of life, and new people. The process of adapting to all of this gives you a chance to explore and develop aspects of yourself you may not have encountered if you stayed in the same job and area. This is also a great opportunity to test a location before making a permanent move.

2. A Generous Travel Nurse Salary

Due to the urgent staffing need and stress arising from being thrown into a new work environment, travel nurses are paid a competitive hourly wage. It’s common for these rates to be more than those of the staff nurses — sometimes even double the amount. Want more clarity? Look at the travel nurse jobs on IntelyCare to see what employers are offering.

3. Broader Nursing Skills and Perspective

Staff nurses can fall into a routine. Workplace patterns can develop based on where the facility is located and the types of patients they most often work with. Need to shake things up a bit? As a travel nurse, you get exposed to a variety of facilities, resources (and lack thereof), patient populations, common diseases, and work cultures. You can become a far more experienced and well-rounded nurse than you would be otherwise.

4. Time Off Between Assignments

The intense time spent during assignments is offset by your ability to choose when you begin another assignment. The length of your breaks is entirely up to you! You can simply recoup, take a vacation, pursue a certification, or do anything else that suits you.

5. Workplace Politics Are Temporary

As a contract worker, you don’t have to deal with the conflicts and stress that can arise to the same extent as staff employees. You’re only impacted for a finite period of time before you move on to your next assignment.

Disadvantages of Being a Travel Nurse

Although you may find the travel nurse benefits far outweigh the downsides, there are potential issues with this niche that you should be aware of:

1. Possible Passive Aggression From Regular Staff

Some of the full-time employees may feel resentful about the fact that travel nurses are paid nearly double the wages to do the same job. As a result, staff nurses might give travel nurses difficult assignments, refuse to help travel nurses, or even bully them. Don’t let this discourage you — there are plenty of staff nurses and nursing assistants who are grateful for your help.

2. Travel Nursing Can Grow Tiring

Adjusting to new locations and facilities takes a lot of energy. Constantly repeating the moving process, learning new procedures, and meeting new coworkers are just a few examples of things that may grow tiring over time. Self-care during and between assignments is incredibly important to maintaining your wellness.

3. Facilities Might Alter or Cancel Contracts With Little Notice

A facility going back on their word can be jarring, especially if you’ve already arranged housing or don’t have a back-up job ready. It’s unfair, but it happens. There are a number of ways to support yourself in the event of a canceled assignment: accumulate some savings to hold you over until your next job, having a lawyer review the contract, and working per diem shifts to ensure you have income while you figure out your next steps.

Enjoy the Many Travel Nurse Benefits Waiting for You

If you’re keen to explore new ways of working, IntelyCare can help. Want to see how your career could be improved? Check out the benefits of flexible schedule by applying to IntelyCare today!