Whether you are a veteran nurse looking to recharge your career or a newly minted RN, you might want to consider becoming a travel nurse. A travel nurse is a nurse who is hired to work in a specific location—anywhere in the world—for a specific amount of time. Most travel nurses work in locations anywhere from a month to half a year, depending on the needs to be filled for their particular assignment.
Travel nursing can be stressful and demanding—as can any type of healthcare position—but it is also wrought with innumerable rewards.
The job outlook for travel nurses
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a continued growth for travel nursing—as much as a 19 percent increase by 2022. Travel nurses tend to enjoy higher salaries because of their flexibility. Earnings go up with more education, and registered nurses with a master’s degree find work more easily and they tend to get paid more.
Download the 2018 Nursing Salary Guide
The “where” of travel nursing
We recently conducted a survey to find out more about travel nursing and what current nurses think about it. We wanted to know not only where they might like to go as a travel nurse, but why they would want to do it. The responses ranged from altruistic to adventurous—and everything in between.
According to our survey results, most nurses—nearly 50 percent of those who took our survey—long to be in a laid-back each town, with the majestic mountains being the second choice of nearly 20 percent of respondents. Others dream of bustling cities, wide open spaces, and exotic rainforests.
The “why” of travel nursing
Here is some of what our responding nurses had to say about their reasons for thinking about or planning on a travel nursing career:
Katisha had her eyes on an exotic rainforest for her travel nurse gig, saying, “I have always wanted to travel, to get around and experience the world. I would enjoy seeing a beautiful, exotic rainforest. above all else anywhere I go I love to help people! i have been a CNA for a few years, a companion for many, and a caregiver for a lifetime! this world has a lot of places to see and people to meet and I would love to be a part of that!”
Suzanne was looking for a mountainous region where she could help needy children and their family.
Some nurses wanted to help with specific areas of nursing, such as mental health. Sandra said, “Travel nursing would allow me to expand my experience and knowledge to benefit our mental health population. Attitudes have changed; however, empathy and good listening skills are key to understanding and treating those a little less fortunate than all of us.”
Travel nursing interests those of all ages, according to 66-year-old Vickie, who says: “I continue to enjoy nursing. Would be nice to enjoy my job while visiting exciting places.” Another respondent, Ronna, says she thinks about travel nursing now that her children are on their own, wondering if it is something she would enjoy.
Orlando, who would enjoy a bustling city for his next work assignment, points out that “a travel nurse gets to acquire a vast array of cultures and customs from people of different backgrounds. That in itself is the true gift of travel nursing.”
Debbie sees travel nursing as an opportunity to relax, envisioning herself in a laid-back beach town where she could spend her days off snorkeling. “Nothing could be better,” she ways. “Put in the shifts…then relax. Best of both worlds.” Julie agrees, calling it “beach therapy.”
Eileen points out that happy nurses make great employees, suggesting that there needs to be a balance: “Work hard, play hard.”
Chrissy sees herself in a beach town at some point because she loves “growing in the human experience and learning from and caring for retired and re-retired people. People over 70 have such rich, intriguing histories. It is important and to me when caring for someone to validate their lives and personal perspective while helping them remain vital and purposeful.”
One respondent, Sandra, says she has been a traveling RN for more than 17 years. She currently works in a mission house for the homeless and less fortunate. Although she admits the work is tough, she has no regrets.
Is travel nursing right for you?
Travel nursing can be a win-win for younger singles and empty nesters since you can often vacation where you work. You will have the ability to explore new cities or countries all over the world on your time off. Are you ready to start your travel nurse adventure today?