If you’re ready for adventure, new challenges, and expanding your horizons, travel nursing is a pursuit worth exploring. Not only can registered nurses (RNs) increase their earnings with travel nursing, but travelers experience growth in a unique way.
Many travelers say they find themselves through the job.
Travel nursing can be a way of life for those with wanderlust, or a short interval during a period in your life when you have the flexibility and freedom to try something different. And if constantly moving around is new to you, partnering with an agency can provide resources to help with the process of relocation and making a temporary home in a new city.
How Travel Can Help You Grow
Travel is a tried-and-true way to grow as an individual. When you visit a new city, state, or country, you’re exposed to new sights, sounds, tastes, and cultures. You meet new people and groups that help you understand how your experience and beliefs are unique, and what you have in common with and what connects you to everyone else.
Being a traveler rather than a tourist can help you discover:
- Your dream home – Until you’ve experienced seaside and mountain regions, the severe beauty of the arid west, and the lushness of gothic southern cities, you won’t truly know where you feel most at home. Travel nursing can help you identify what part of the country or city you’d like to revisit and explore or lay down roots.
- Personal freedom – Traveling somewhere new comes with a deep level of freedom from expectation, obligation, and compromise from your previous home. This encourages travelers to wander new paths and discover activities, foods, and whims that are entirely your own.
- Your passions – Often, we default to habits in our daily lives and choices that slow down our personal growth. Relocating can shake up that routine, helping us actively prioritize activities and schedules around what we value. If you tend to be ruled by inertia, heading off for a temporary gig in a new city can be just what you need to introduce daily practices and try out activities you haven’t made time for.
There’s a lot you can learn by watching documentaries, reading, and studying, but nothing beats first-hand experience and being immersed in a new environment. And while tourism gives you a taste of life in other places, longer stays allow you to experience life as a local and discover the hidden spots and heartbeat of a foreign city.
Is Travel Nursing Lonely?
We’re often taught that valuing connections to others means preserving them for years or a lifetime. But if you’ve worked in a critical care environment, you may have already learned how attachments can be meaningful regardless of how fleeting they are. This is as true for professional and personal relationships as it is for helping patients in distress.
Prepare for your social needs by making some advance plans, just like you would for your housing and transportation needs in a new place. This can include:
- Shared interests – Finding activities you enjoy or like-minded groups in the new location through platforms like Meetup, Eventbrite, or Groupon.
- Coworkers – Engaging your new coworkers by finding out if they socialize outside of work or asking to join them for lunch.
- Neighbors – Sometimes, making new connections is as simple as asking your neighbors about their favorite local hangouts, or what kind of dog they have, or how they grew such a lovely crop of tulips.
If you rarely do things alone or are used to relying on a core set of friends or close family, any move by yourself is going to be a bit of a culture shock. This can also be a prime opportunity to develop skills you need—not just to enjoy your own company, but also to easily connect with others and appreciate the moment you’re in.
What You Can Learn as a Travel Nurse
One way to expand your resume in any career is to make your list of jobs a lengthy one, but job-hopping can be a red flag about commitment or performance to potential employees. Travel nursing is an established and respected way to experience a diversity of roles and build a strong professional history.
You’ll have the opportunity to grow specific nursing skills in more environments. Plus, you’ll be learning life skills and soft skills that will help your career, such as:
- Confidence, independence, and critical decision-making
- Flexibility and adaptability
- Experience with diverse people and team structures
How Much Do Travel Nurses Make?
So, how much do travel nurses make? Travel nurse wages can be significantly higher than stationary RNs. Because they respond to immediate staffing needs that organizations either can’t fill locally or can’t budget for permanently, rates tend to be higher. How long can a travel nurse stay in one location? Typically, travel nurses stay in one location for 12 months, unless they avail of a travel nursing extension.
Furthermore, travel nurses are generally provided with per diems and housing stipends that may be more than actual housing costs.1
But just as with single-location RNs, there is a range of earning potential. Travel nurse wages factor in:
- Geographic location and cost of living in that area
- Specialized experience, training
- Education level
- Seasonality, particularly in “snowbird” regions with influxes of older adults2
Expand Your Horizons with Travel Nursing
Traveling to a city for the first time with a brand new job can be intimidating. But by facing challenges head on, travelers grow and find themselves along the way. If you’re ready for all that travel nursing entails, contact us today. We’re here to help you take flight.
- Schmidt, Kyle. “How Much Do Travel Nurses Make? the Definitive Guide for 2020.” BluePipes Blog, https://blog.bluepipes.com/how-much-do-travel-nurses-make/.
- “How to Become a Travel Nurse.” NurseJournal, 22 Sept. 2021, https://nursejournal.org/careers/travel-nurse/how-to-become/.