Is Travel Nursing For You?

Does the thought of living and working in a new city or town every three months appeal to you? Sound like a dream? Maybe to some, but travel nursing is a reality for a growing number of nurses across the country.

Because of a nationwide nursing shortage, health care facilities often hire temporary travel nurses to fill in staffing gaps. 

If the thought of packing your bags and taking your nursing skills on the road sounds like a great way to experience life in different cities, but you aren’t sure if travel nursing is right for you, answering these questions will help you decide.

Am I Adaptable?

Travel nurses not only change work sites every few months, they often move to an entirely new city. To be successful, you must have a high tolerance for change. Your manager and coworkers will change with every assignment. You may not have a chance to develop strong bonds in your temporary hometown.

On the other hand, if you thrive on change, travel nursing could be a perfect fit. And while new friends and colleagues will only be a part of your daily life temporarily, social media and the ease of travel can keep you connected to a wide web of contacts for a lifetime.

Am I Flexible?

Flexibility is important for traveling nurses. If you are open to being placed in a variety of settings and cities, a recruiter can keep your schedule filled with assignments. That’s not to say that travel nurses can’t have preferences. Some recruiters work to find placements in the nurse's preferred location (for instance, near the beach or close to relatives). But you may find more opportunity if you are flexible.

Am I Experienced?

Travel nurse recruiters seek nurses with at least one year of nursing experience, and many prefer two or more years of job experience. Health care facilities are looking to fill staffing shortages and need nurses who can hit the ground running when they arrive. Job sites do not want to take the time to do extensive training with a nurse they may only have on board for a few months.

If you’re still in nursing school or a recent grad, patience may be required before you hit the road. However, if you are a seasoned nurse, you may have little problem securing a recruiter and a travel position.

Did you answer yes to all of these questions? Connecting with a recruiter is your next step. In my next post, I’ll discuss how to search for and apply for travel nursing assignments.