One of the most popular misconceptions regarding travel nursing is that it necessitates long-distance travel or employment outside your state. Many people believe that you must be at least 50 Miles from your primary residence to qualify for tax-free travel nurse pay. However, that is not true. Travel nursing in your city is quite a possibility.
But is it a good idea to travel as a nurse in your city or state?
Read on to learn how to become a travel nurse in your local state, the advantages and disadvantages of doing so, and more in the following sections!
Travel Nursing in Your State, Is it Possible?
Yes! Travel nursing is possible in your state. Although the specifics may vary depending on your state’s Board of Nursing, generally speaking, a travel nurse can work in any state as long as he or she has a current, active nursing license in good standing.
Many prospective travel nurses have no idea that they can work as travel nurses right in their state. You don’t have to leave your native state or go across the country to become a travel nurse. The “50-mile rule” may have you thinking, “I can’t be a travel nurse ever; I like to remain near home.”. But that’s the beauty of travel nursing: you can work ten miles from home, as long as you follow the requirements of the IRS and your employer’s agency.
But this leads us to our next question, i.e. can you be a travel nurse in your city?
Can You Do Travel Nursing in Your City?
You can do travel nursing in your city if a hospital nearby needs licensed travel nurses. Travel nurses can work in any location within a 50-mile radius despite the IRS’s restrictions of an overnight stay, and we’ll discuss this in more detail in the following lines.
All you need to do is sign up with any travel nursing agency. You will collaborate with a recruiter to tailor your resume to the roles that attract you in your area — or elsewhere. Once you’ve been offered a job, there are some things you should be aware of. Check if the role is temporary or permanent.
On the outside, this might look trivial, but it is not. Here is why.
50 Mile Rule. What is it?
The 50 mile radius is more of a rule of thumb than a specific distance provided by the IRS. To qualify for tax free stipends you must duplicate your home and living expenses. In general terms this means staying overnight away from your tax home while you are working. Hospitals also enforce their own 50 or 100 mile rules to ensure they are not hiring travelers that could be permanent employees. We always recommend contacting a licensed CPA to help determine your tax exposure and withholdings. More information can be found here on the IRS website, https://www.irs.gov/publications/p463.
Travel Nursing Away From Your Home.
Suppose your primary residence (also known as your tax residence) is more than 50 miles away from your assigned facility. In that case, you may be eligible for special taxpayer subsidies for housing and food that are not subject to taxes.
For your job at the hospital, you will need to take a break somewhere close to your destination because of the long distance back home. In this case the IRS considers your expenses as duplicated. You’re paying for your tax home and a temporary home near your work site.
Travel Nursing in Your City within 50 Miles
As per the Internal Revenue Service, you may work as a travel nurse for a facility that is close or near your tax home. However, you will not be eligible for the same incentives (stipends) for accommodation and meals as other participants.
The Government does not want someone to be compensated for housing and food if they are not required or expected to do so, which makes sense.
This makes one wonder whether it is worthwhile to work as a local travel nurse if the additional subsidies are not available? The answer is can be YES.
Perks for Travel Nursing in Your City.
Local travel nursing has several advantages, some of which are financial and some personal.
We’re sure you’ll agree with us after reading the next part. Following are some of the perks of travel nursing in your city.
You get To Stay With Your Family
One of the perks of travel nursing in your city is staying with your family. People at times wonder
Is there a way to work as a travel nurse in my home state if I cannot travel with my family?
The answer is yes, it is possible. Local travel nursing is a great option if you love your work but aren’t ready to move or can’t take your family with you. One of the key reasons several nurses choose to keep their travel nursing jobs in their home city is that they can travel home on the weekends.
No Additional Licenses
One of the perks of travel nursing in your state is you won’t need any additional licenses. Additionally, if your state does not provide a compact nursing license, you won’t have to bother getting an additional nursing license, provided you go with local travel nursing.
However, If you’re on a tight schedule, getting a license in another state can be a burden, even if your travel nursing agency pays for it. A single state license is all you need to work as a travel nurse in multiple locations in the same area.
By doing travel nursing near your home, you’ll receive market competitive pay rates, if not better. As a travel nurse, even in your state of residence, you’ll generally earn more money than an ordinary staff nurse – even without the stipends for accommodation and food.
While working as a local travel nurse, you can step into a nursing job with little or no training because of the high demand in some locations or in an emergency.
Better Professional Connections
If you do travel nursing in your city or nearby, you’ll probably work at the same hospitals wherever you go. This will help you make better decisions regarding your future endeavors. Your chances of being selected for future assignments will increase as you get to know the hospital’s employees. Making a good impression on seasoned doctors and nurses is also an excellent approach to developing your resume and network. It will be easier to concentrate on your career when you are not distracted by the need to travel.
Better Work-Life Balance
Travel nursing in your city will help you manage your finances better. Aside from this, it is a well-known fact that traveling frequently can be a real strain on the body and mind. If you travel nursing locally, you will not have to abandon your loved ones, friends, pets, or home behind. You won’t have to stress about what you’ll be missing out on while you’re away. Working as a local travel nurse makes it less difficult to start a family if you desire. You can spare yourself a lot of worry by staying close to home if you’ve settled down or plan to do so in the coming years.
What good is it to give up a superb location in one of the finest states for nurses? Doing local nursing in your city wouldn’t have to bother about migrating to a new location. You can apply for projects in your home state. In addition to earning a good living, working as a local travel nurse will give you the flexibility to visit your family whenever you choose. It is possible to take advantage of the perks of travel nursing in your state while still getting a change of scenery by working at hospitals in the neighboring area.
The Downsides of Travel Nursing in Your City
As with other things, travel nursing in your city has its fair share of cons as well. Following are some of them.
Lack of Adventure
Despite the financial cost, traveling does instill a sense of adventure in minds. However, if you pursue travel nursing in your state, you might miss out. Doing travel nursing in your state means you won’t see the variety of climates and places that long-distance nursing offers. Travel nursing locally isn’t the ideal option to experience seaside towns, mountainous regions, and wide deserts. Travel nursing as a registered nurse across the country will fulfill your wanderlust.
You Might Miss Out on Job Opportunities
If you restrict your job search to a smaller area, your career prospects may be fewer. Expanding your job search is necessary. Especially if you’re having difficulty finding work or aren’t getting paid as much as you’d want, to avert this, compare the pay and the cost of living in various regions. This way, you will be able to determine which one best suits your needs. Besides, you might miss out on several travel nursing perks. You must be working far enough away from home to be reimbursed for your travel expenses and meals. At the same time, it is possible to work locally as a travel nurse. But there is the potential for tax complications which need to be dealt with separately.
You may Lose Interest
It is no secret that exposure to the same environments for longer periods results in a loss of Interest. If you’re regularly accepting projects at the same hospitals, it’s possible that you’ll become bored. Nursing is indeed a fast-paced industry. But working as a travel nurse in your home city may not deliver the thrill you seek. Taking projects in new regions will help you broaden your horizons and avoid monotony or burnout by diversifying your experiences.
The hospital may have a radius rule
Hospitals can restrict how far away a traveler must live to be eligible for a travel position. Most use the 50 mile rule, some go up to 100, and in rare circumstances 250 miles is required. If you live within the radius they may offer a local pay rate.
The Bottom Line
As with other career choices, travel nursing is also a very lucrative career option. However, one needs to evaluate the pros and cons before concluding properly.
If you want to pursue local travel nursing, there’s nothing that can stop you. However, you might need to introspect whether travel nursing is a wise choice or not. There is no denying that your area might have lucrative job options. But you may miss out on pensions and tenured benefits like “no call”. Travel nursing can be local, but the pool gets bigger and more lucrative once you start exploring options outside your local area.
If you want to pursue local travel nursing, jump right into it. There’s no better career path, given the work-life balance it has to offer.
PS- If you’re still undecided, I suggest reading our other posts about whether or not travel nursing is right for YOU. Click here to check it out!