Some nurses are afraid of travel nursing, especially when they are new to this job. First-time traveling, perm staff reaction, workplace environment, and security issues are what concern them the most.
Travel nursing is a great way to explore new places and meet new people. If you are a travel nurse who has many fears holding him back, you must read this guide to help you overcome these fears.
What Should I Know Before Travel Nursing?
Travel Nursing is exciting, but like all jobs, it has its challenges. A typical travel nurse assignment is 8-13 weeks long. This means that you have to travel to a new place after every job unless you apply for an extension.
If you have to travel to other states, you need to apply for a multi-state or single-state license. Every time, you get new coworkers, a unique working environment, a new place to live, and you have to adjust to it. Also, you may contact night shifts even if you don’t like them.
Please read our guide about night shift travel nursing.
Alongside, you have to budget wisely, administer taxes, and manage your tax home. While budgeting, make sure to save time between assignments. The more nursing certificates you have, the more your worth is. During projects, you need to study for additional courses too.
Why are Nurses Afraid of Travel Nursing?
Many common fears surround travel nurses. Let’s address a few of them:
- Moving to a new city: it is not easy to move to a new place, especially when they know no one there. A new town means a new living place, whether you like it or not, new people and new neighborhoods.
You may get a roommate in a housing area you don’t like, or in other scenarios, you have to find a house yourself. It can be frustrating, and you are prone to scams.
- Loneliness: travel nurses have to leave their family and friends behind and may suffer from loneliness. You don’t have anyone during your downtime. It is better to think about times you are free, such as joining the gym, keeping pets, or planning meetups.
- New work environment: yes, you have to face a new work environment every 8-13 weeks. This means you will have to meet new coworkers and doctors and adjust to the hospital environment.
- Unwelcoming staff: it is common for a travel nurse to believe that the team in the new health unit may be unwelcoming, or in worst scenarios, get fired without warning.
Misconceptions About Travel Nursing
There are fears, and then there are misconceptions. You might have heard other nurses telling how draining and frustrating travel nursing can be. We are here to clear all your misconceptions.
Travel Nursing Isn’t a Stable Source of Earning.
Just because a travel nurse has to travel every few months, people believe it isn’t a reliable source of earning. Well, the opposite is the truth. According to stats, travel nurses make more than permanent nurses. Hence, it is a reliable source of earning.
You Have to Move Every 8-13 Week
No, this is not the truth. Not only can you extend your assignment if needed, but you can also apply for nursing assignments in the same city.
Travel Nursing Weakens Resume
Travel nursing strengthens resumes. The more you work at different places, the more flexible you are and the more skills you have.
You Cannot Take Your Family Along
You can take your family along with you, but you need to inform your travel agency before that. If you have children, there are plenty of childcare options available throughout the country.
Apart from this, if your friend, family member, or partner is a travel nurse, you both can apply for an assignment in the same city or same hospital.
Travel Nursing is for Younger People
Do you know that around 56% of travel nurses are over 40? Yes, hospitals often prefer nurses with more experience.
Hospital Staff Don’t Like Travel Nurses
This claim is entirely wrong. Travel nurses are appointed to overcome staff shortages in hospitals and increase the nurse-to-patient ratio. You provide a helping hand and relief to their staff so that they will warmly welcome you.
Travel Nurses are Only Needed in Big Cities
From small towns to big cities, hospitals need travel nurses everywhere to overcome the healthcare workers’ shortage. However, due to more population in big cities, the demand there is comparatively higher.
As a Travel Nurse, You Get Worst Shifts
I cannot regard any shift as “worst.” Travel nurses, just like other nurses, have to work during holidays and festivals. If you still have any concerns, you may ask to shift timings during your interview.
You Have to Share Houses
Yes, and no. When you apply for nursing jobs, you get two options; to move to a house given by an agency or find your own while the company provides a monthly housing stipend. If you move to a place assigned by an agency, you may have to share housing; else, no.
Travel Nurses Don’t Get Benefits
You Cannot Meet Your Family or Friends
Typically, travel nurses have 12-hour shifts 3-4 times a week. The rest days are free, and they can prove to be great vacation days.
Besides, you get time between nursing assignments too. You can use this time to plan meetups with your family or friends.
Wanna know more about the time between travel nursing assignments? Read here.
6 Easy Ways to Overcome Travel Nursing Fears
No matter how intense your fears are, overcoming travel nursing fears isn’t rocket science. We have compiled a handy guide to do so.
1. Ask Recruiter to Guide You
A good recruiter will help you land a suitable job, prepare for a good interview, get an NLC or single-state license, and prepare other documents.
Recruiters will also guide you about housing or monthly housing allowance and give details regarding assignments.
2. Talk to Fellow Nurses
This technique works the best. Ask the travel nurses about their experience while traveling and working in various healthcare units. Also, ask for advice they want to give to the junior nurses.
3. Bring Someone Along with You on Trip
It is a good idea to bring your family, companion, or pets along. If you plan to do this, you should first tell your travel agency about it.
4. Ask a Lot of Questions, and I Mean It
If you are unsure about something? Ask your coworkers, your recruiter, doctors, and interviewers. Question what they expect from nurses, nurse-to-patient ratio, or any other queries that pop up in your mind.
5. Think About All the Fun
You might be thinking about how hectic jobs and fun go together. Well, they do if you are a travel nurse. Let me explain. You travel to a new city every 8-13 weeks. There, you can enjoy unique restaurants, gyms, cinemas, and concerts.
6. Be Prepared
When preparing for an interview, ready for the worst scenarios too. Please read our complete nursing interview guide for further issues. When packing, don’t forget to make a packing checklist to avoid last-minute panic.
Alongside, be confident and optimistic towards everyone. Remember, the assignment is temporary. Even if you don’t like it, it will be over within 2-3 months.
Why Should You Consider a Career in Travel Nursing?
There are around 25,000 travel nurses in the US, and demand for this job increases every year. With the increasing demand, hospitals are willing to pay higher to travel nurses.
Travel nursing boosts professional growth. The more places you work, the more experience you gain. In turn, you have more skills and flexibility than permanent nurses.
Along with excellent pay packages, agencies offer nurses free houses or tax-free housing stipends and other benefits such as life or health insurance.
Travel nurses are usually higher in demand. This gives them job security. They have to pay lower living costs comparatively. Discover new places, meet new people, eat at new restaurants every 13 weeks.
Freedom, flexibility, and enjoyment – travel nursing in a nutshell. Don’t wait for public holidays to enjoy a vacation when you can have one every 13 weeks. Yes, travel nurses get off between their assignments as long as they want.
Note: the time between travel nursing assignments is usually unpaid, so plan accordingly.
Also, because you are working for an agency, you can get a job wherever you want. Additionally, you can get a job in the area of your expertise.
My favorite reason to consider a career as a travel nurse: no workplace politics. As you have to join a new healthcare center every few months, you are kept out of workplace politics.
FAQs – Should You Be Afraid of Travel Nursing?
We have discussed some routinely asked questions to help you overcome travel nursing fears.
Is travel nursing stressful?
No, travel nursing isn’t abnormally stressful if you are prepared. No matter what job you do, there are ups and downs, and so is the case with travel nursing.
However, we can label travel nursing as stressful to some extent because you have to leave your family, friends, and your hometown to a new place.
While moving to a new city, leaving everything behind may be stressful for some people; others may adjust easily.
You just need to take the necessary steps to help yourself cope up with this loneliness. You can buy a pet, invite your family to come over, travel with your partner, or join some nursing course or gym to pass the extra time.
Is travel nursing worth it?
Yes, you can travel the country when doing your job. Travel nurses get excellent pay packages, housing stipends, and extra benefits too. Also, you can work whenever you want and take a break as long as you wish.
Alongside, you are kept out of workplace politics: the lesser the workplace politics, the lesser the stress. Travel nursing is definitely a dream come true.
What skills do I need to start travel nursing?
A travel nurse should have the following skills:
- Critical thinking
- Decision-making at critical times
- Emotional intelligence (because they have to move to a new place every few months)
To start travel nursing, you need a nursing degree that can either be ADN or BSN. Next, give the NCLEX-RN exam and work for at least 12 months. Find a suitable agency, submit an application and work with a recruiter to find the right job in the place you want to go.
Don’t forget to mention your housing or other job needs, if any. Apply for a single-state or multi-state license. Finally, work with them to prepare interviews and nursing documentation.
Can I be a travel nurse with no experience?
Yes, you can. Traditionally, travel nurses had to work for one year at any hospital or healthcare center to start travel nursing. Now, things are different because of COVID-19.
Some hospitals started to appoint freshly graduated nurses with little or no experience. They are also willing to provide them with extra guidance and support.
However, as active COVID cases lessen we expect a return to the prior pre-requisite of travel nursing positions requiring a minimum of 1-2 years of experience.
Usually, nurses are afraid of travel nursing. Some can’t cope with traveling fear and loneliness, while others fear that travel nursing won’t look good on their resume. The more assignments you have done, the more experience you gain, and hospitals prefer nurses with more experience.
Also, travel nurses bring along many perks like visiting the country and getting an off whenever you want. With a good travel nursing agency and a good recruiter, you can definitely find your dream job.