Working as a Traveling Nurse: Pros and Cons to Consider

Travel nursing is a challenging career that can be highly rewarding. A travel nurse offers vital services in understaffed healthcare settings, performing all of the roles of a traditional nurse. This makes them experts in their field. 

A travel nurse has to be flexible and ready to persevere in challenging situations while also having the ability to learn quickly and be comfortable in new and changing working environments. Is travel nursing worth it

Carefully considering our list of traveling nurse pros and cons will help you decide whether it’s the right career move for you. 

Benefits of Travel Nursing 

A travel nurse has to be ready to go where they are most needed and get to work with little to no adjustment time. That can be very difficult to do, which is why so many people end up asking, “Is being a travel nurse worth it?” and “Do traveling nurses get benefits?” 

Great Pay and Unique Benefits 

Travel nurse benefits include the potential to make a significant amount of money. Travel nurses can make significantly more than a staff nurse. Another huge benefit is that travel nurses get tax-free money for meals, lodging, and incidental expenditures. This means that travel nurses have a lower tax burden, further contributing to their overall earnings.

Travel Opportunities 

One of the most notable traveling nurse benefits is the opportunity to explore new destinations and connect with individuals from diverse backgrounds. By accepting assignments, you not only get to reside in various cities and states but also immerse yourself in the unique charm and experiences they offer. It’s a wonderful way to connect with individuals from different backgrounds and create lasting memories while experiencing the unique charm and countless experiences each place has to offer.

Explore Different Living Environments 

For those who have spent their entire lives in a city apartment, venturing into a rural area can be quite an adventure. It presents a unique opportunity to broaden one’s horizons and expand their range of experiences. Moreover, if you have always harbored a dream of residing in a specific city, you can even test the waters by working as a traveling nurse before making a permanent commitment.

Work in Different Facilities 

One of the significant advantages of being a traveling nurse is the opportunity to work in multiple healthcare facilities. This allows you to observe and learn from different environments, understanding what works and what doesn’t. It also requires you to adapt to diverse protocols, equipment usage, and challenges, which can greatly benefit your nursing career.

Additionally, it is crucial to consider that being a travel nurse enables you to avoid workplace politics prevalent in healthcare facilities. You can focus purely on your work without having to deal with gossip or drama. Another advantage is that you are not obligated to attend all the meetings and committees, giving you more time to dedicate to your responsibilities.

Have Flexibility Between Assignments 

Travel nurses don’t get paid time off, but they do have the flexibility to decide when to take on their next assignment. If you need a bit of time off for personal reasons, you don’t have to ask anyone for permission once you’ve completed your assignment. You don’t have to apply for vacation time and hope it works out. This level of flexibility gives you the kind of control over your life most people search for. 

Experience Unique Professional Experiences 

Travel nursing benefits also include the opportunity to embark on unique experiences that may otherwise be unattainable. As a travel nurse, you have the chance to cultivate your skills in diverse locations, providing a wide range of services. Moreover, it allows you to forge new connections, both personal and professional, which can prove invaluable down the road.

Obtain Job Placements From Staffing Agencies 

Getting work as a travel nurse is easier than finding a position as a traditional registered nurse. As a travel nurse, you’ll likely always be in demand, making it easier to find jobs when you need to. Staffing agencies are ready to provide positions, allowing you to quickly get to work. 

Cons of Travel Nursing 

Travel nursing is not for everyone. It is a challenging profession with a steep learning curve. Before deciding if it’s the right option for you, you need to understand the drawbacks of being a travel nurse. We’re not ones to sugarcoat the realities, so here are a few things about travel nursing that might be less than ideal.

Pack and Move Frequently 

As a travel nurse, a significant portion of your time will be spent on packing and moving. While some individuals view this as a perk of the job, others may find it to be a stressor that affects their overall quality of life. If you frequently experience frustration whenever you have to travel, it might be worth considering whether working as a travel nurse aligns with your preferences and lifestyle.

In addition, if you have a fear of flying or encounter other challenges related to travel, pursuing a career as a travel nurse can present additional hurdles for you to overcome.

Inconsistent Income 

While travel nursing offers higher pay compared to traditional nursing, it may not provide a consistent income that fosters financial security. Varying pay rates can also be a concern. For instance, if you perform the same work in two different locations but receive significantly lower compensation in one, your income stability may be compromised.

Experience Frequent Job Searches and Interviews 

Once a job comes to an end, the search for a new one begins. While securing a position as a traveling nurse is usually straightforward due to the high demand, the process can still be overwhelming. The concerns of finding the perfect role and enduring a series of job interviews can be anxiety-inducing. While some individuals handle this with ease, others may find it challenging.

Obtain Multiple State Licenses 

To be able to work as a travel nurse, you want to be licensed in many different states. Maintaining multiple state licenses can be expensive. Meeting all of the licensing requirements in various states can also be difficult. 

In some instances, getting a license in one state can make it more difficult to get it in another. In California, for example, getting your license takes a very long time, which delays the process of getting it anywhere else. 

Tips for Making the Most Out of Travel Nursing

Once you’ve thoroughly considered all of the traveling nurse pros and cons and decided to give the option a try, there are things you can do to make the most out of the position. 

Pursue Certifications in Specialized Fields

To secure the kind of job assignments you want, pursuing a certification in a specialized field is the right way to go. It sets you apart and allows you to apply for positions that are in demand, knowing that you have an edge over the competition. 

You also have the chance to earn more in specialized fields. Some of the highest-paid travel nurses have Critical Care Registered Nurse certification or Pediatric Advanced Life Support certification. 

Keep Digital/Physical Documents Organized 

As a travel nurse, you are required to present a range of documents, including resumes, certifications, and identification papers. Carrying all this information can be quite complex. To streamline the process, store digital copies in your Kamana digital wallet. It’s a secure, online portal that’s designed to double as your compliance file and travel nurse resume. Kamana allows you to easily access the necessary information whenever required.

Develop Efficient Packing Techniques 

As a travel nurse, frequent packing is inevitable. To streamline the process, saving time and preventing frustration is crucial. The goal is to efficiently pack all your essentials within minutes.

To begin, prioritize your must-haves. Carefully consider what is truly essential, leaving behind anything that falls outside this category.

Try different methods of packing clothes. Some people swear by rolling, while others prefer folding. Bundle packing is another option that more people are trying, especially if you need to make room for a lot of clothing. You may also want to try compression bags since they allow for more room in the suitcase and cut down on the weight. 

Network With Other Travel Nurses 

Building meaningful connections is crucial for travel nurses, as simply hopping from one job to another without forming real bonds won’t do justice to your career. Engaging with fellow travel nurses offers valuable opportunities to learn from their experiences and expand your professional network.

You want to remember that the connections you make can help you find a great posting in the future. Knowing a few travel nurses also lets you get an idea of what postings you may want to avoid or where you may want to apply next. You can turn to virtual networking options, which allow you to stay in touch with others online or make an effort to get to know those you’re currently working with. 

There are also nursing conferences you may want to attend. You’ll be able to meet potential employers and get to know other nurses.

Travel Nursing Frequently Asked Questions

Do travel nurses get benefits

Yes, travel nurses typically receive health benefits, although the specifics can vary depending on the agency they work with and the terms of their individual contracts. 

How do travel nurses navigate health insurance between assignments?

Managing health insurance during gaps between assignments is a common challenge. Some nurses opt for plans through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to ensure continuous coverage, while others may use COBRA to extend their employer-provided coverage.

Triage allows travelers to keep their health benefits on between assignments, as long as they have an assignment booked in the system before the current assignment ends and the new assignment begins within 26 days of the end of the current assignment. However, back premiums will come out of the first few paychecks of the new assignment.

What are the requirements to become a travel nurse?

Generally, you need to be a registered nurse (RN) with a valid nursing license. Typically, at least two years of clinical experience in a hospital setting is required. During Covid, it was possible to travel with less experience, but that’s rare now.

Find the Best Traveling Nurses Jobs With Triage Staffing

If you are interested in a traveling nurse job, we at Triage Staffing can help. Our dedication to providing quality positions to the best applicants makes us a trusted option for travel nurses throughout the U.S. 

We serve six divisions of acute care, including nursing, lab, rehab therapy, radiology,, cardiopulmonary and long-term care. Our goal is to avoid making the process of finding a job difficult. Searching for work as a traveling nurse can feel like such a job itself. 

With positions that last 13 weeks on average and the chance to get paid weekly, you have the kind of job flexibility you want. 

When you choose Triage Staffing, you technically work for us, not individual facilities. This makes filing your taxes much easier. Another benefit you can expect when you turn to us is that we can be as involved in choosing housing for you as you need, though most travelers choose to find housing on their own so they can maximize their stipends.

We are here to make the process of finding a job simpler. Find travel nurse jobs today!