If you are a new nurse with only a few months of experience under your belt, you are in for a pleasant surprise. You can give up your ordinary hospital job for a life of adventure, excitement, and new experiences. How? By becoming a new travel nurse of course.
What is a travel nurse?
Some of you may already know the answer, and even if you don’t, the name “Travel nurse” itself would’ve rung a bell. Anyway, here’s a simple definition: a traveling nurse is a regular RN who, instead of working at a single hospital or healthcare facility, travels the country performing regular nursing duties on a short-term basis.
The duties are mostly similar to a regular nurse; but you get to travel a lot, work with new people, and see sights you wouldn’t get to see with any other job. Traveling nurses not only travel within the country but get to journey to other countries as well.
But doesn’t it require years of experience?
Normally, it does. But the recent pandemic has changed the world, especially the healthcare industry. Previously, a newly graduated nurse would’ve needed a couple years’ experience before travel nursing agencies would even consider recruiting them. Now, there is an inflated demand for RNs all over the world. A new grad only a few months, typically 12, into their nursing career is eyed as a valuable commodity by travel nursing agencies.
The time has never been more right for you if you want the exciting life on the road and the adventures that come with it. Travel nursing a memorable experience. And it also adds nice heft to your resume for further down your career.
Does travel nursing suit a new nurse?
Definitely! New nurses are perfectly suited for travel nursing. Here are some of the reasons why:
You have youth on your side
Being a young new nurse, you have the energy and the drive required to be a successful traveling nurse. Fresh and young nurses are also more adaptable than seasoned nurses, and travel nursing is all about adaptability.
College or school life trains you to deal with people from different backgrounds, ethnicities, nationalities, and societies. As a new grad travel nurse, you too will get to meet and work with all kinds of people. With that college training fresh in mind, you wouldn’t have trouble fitting into any kind of work environment.
You aren’t tied down
If you’ve recently graduated, chances are you haven’t started a family yet. Although life as a traveling nurse with a family is very much possible, you’re still better off traveling that road alone. Once you put down your roots it gets much difficult to relocate and start over.
You are in the career-building phase of your life. This is the perfect time to go out and discover the world on your own. Make good use of your time before starting a family or getting into a long-term commitment.
You can put up with its challenges
Being a green and energetic fresh nurse means you won’t get easily deterred by the challenges travel nursing poses. Some of the difficulties traveling nurses face include: working in an unfamiliar environment, looking after their families, venturing to unknown areas, dealing with life on the road, etc.
As a new nurse, you’re likely free from family worries. Whereas road trips and traveling will be exciting rather than tedious for you. If you are a free-spirit you will welcome the frequent change of scenery. And if you like discovering new things then traveling to unknown territories will fill you with excitement rather than dread.
You can take risks
Being a new travel nurse you don’t have many responsibilities or baggage with you. This is why the somewhat gypsy-like lifestyle of a travel nurse will suit you well. Settling into new places will be a cinch. And you will have no trouble packing up and moving to another city at the drop of a hat.
At this point in life, you can take small risks that will generate high rewards later. It is much difficult to make a fresh start once you get settled and comfortable in one place.
Why should I consider becoming a travel nurse?
Travel nursing has various advantages over regular nursing. It is rewarding academically, professionally, psychologically, and financially.
A travel nurse gets more pay
A travel nursing job requires sacrifices on the part of an RN. To compensate for those sacrifices, travel nurses are offered higher salaries than ordinary nurses. Roughly speaking, travel nurses can make almost twice the annual income of a full-time nurse! With a pay that attractive, the college debt breathing down your neck wouldn’t seem so intimidating.
As a new nurse, earning some extra cash while doing the job you love can make you financially stable at an early point in your career. With financial freedom at this stage of your life, you can live your dreams while traveling the world.
Your traveling is free
If you’re a new nurse who wants a job that’s as close to an all-expenses-paid vacation as possible, look no further than travel nursing. Not only do you get to see a multitude of places, but you also do all that for free. While getting paid on top.
It is true that aside from the higher pay, travel nurses also get compensated for the money they spend on traveling, commuting, lodging, fuel, and various expenses incurred during their assignments. With your employer covering the major expenses, you get to make enough savings to spend them as you like.
It’s an amazing learning opportunity
Touring through new places, learning new languages, meeting new people, and understanding new cultures are irreplaceable perks of your job as a travel nurse.
In the words of Kevin Kelly, founder of Wired magazine, “traveling is still the most intense mode of learning”.
Apart from the educational aspect of traveling itself, working in different healthcare systems broadens your mind to a variety of experiences, each different from the other. This will make you grow as a nurse and as a person.
It adds great value to your young career
Not only is traveling nursing a job that pays more, but it also makes your portfolio meatier. Working in an array of healthcare systems in various environments under different circumstances and conditions will make you a more seasoned nurse in a much shorter time.
With a wider skill-set and a stellar resume that you have crafted for yourself as a travel nurse, you can open doors to much bigger things and set your career path towards greatness at a young age.
It widens your horizons
Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness…”
Some of the issues that plague our society stem from those very things. Getting rid of prejudice and intolerance is the first thing we need to do to end the chaos and destruction that is becoming more and more frequent. Traveling broadens your field of view. It changes how you see other people and that makes you understand them better.
Being a travel nurse, you get to work with people from all parts of the world. Working hand in hand, as equals, is the best way to broaden your mind.
New Grad Travel Nurse Tips
The journey ahead of you as a newly nurse will teach you a lot. You will learn how to handle yourself on the road and how to best manage your job. But there is no reason why you can’t get some advice to help you before you head to your first travel nursing assignment.
Get some nursing experience first
You might be tempted to begin your travel nursing career right after graduating. While it is very much possible, you are better off getting a few months’ experience, normally 12, at a local hospital or health facility before venturing out on the road.
By working at a local facility you get to learn the ropes and it would be one less thing to worry about after starting your career as a travel nurse.
Another reason to consider working as a staff nurse first is that you get to learn what your specialty is and where your strengths and weaknesses lie. You will get to know which direction you need to head moving forward.
However, we would still recommend you to start your career as a travel nurse early. After gaining ample valuable experience as a staff nurse, it is best if you apply as soon as you can and register with a good travel nursing agency.
Get a good recruiter
I cannot stress this enough: GET A GOOD RECRUITER! A recruiter is your anchor out on the vast unknown sea that is the career of a travel nurse. You wouldn’t want to be left helpless out there, and a good recruiter’s duty is to protect and guide you whenever you need it.
A good recruiter will never force you to accept assignments. They’ll never go behind your back and assign you to places you never agreed upon. Other red flags include failing to mention details about your pay, bonuses, or expenditure reimbursement.
Adaptability is one of the most important skills you need to develop as a new travel nurse. While you do have a say in picking your assignments, and more often than not you will get assignments that you like. But they may not always fit your exact preferences and if you keep your options narrow, you might miss out on important learning and earning opportunities.
You also need to be adaptable to fit the life on the road. You will have to stay at different facilities and get to work with different kinds of people. If you are rigid, this job wouldn’t suit you well.
Be kind and courteous
Hospitals and other health facilities that already have an in-house staff often call upon the services of travel nurses. When working with the staff you need to recognize that you are an outsider to them. And you will most likely experience cold behavior.
You have to be kind and friendly to the in-house staff. Respect their authorities and hierarchy. Making friends and earning the trust of your colleagues will only benefit you by keeping things pleasant during the course of your assignment.
New travel nurse – Final words
As a nurse just starting, the world is open to you. This is your time to spread your wings and fly. You are energetic, flexible, adaptable, and resilient.
Nurses are high in demand all around the globe. In the U.S, experience requirements have never been lower.
This is your golden opportunity to explore the world, and travel nursing is your ticket. Help yourself, help your career. Start early and start strong.