So, you want to be a travel nurse.
Travel nursing is one of the most unique opportunities the nursing profession has to offer. It can give RNs, LVNs, LPNs, Nurse Practitioners and others in the field the chance to visit and live in a wide variety of different locations around the country or even the world; all while getting paid.
However, like any opportunity, there are advantages and disadvantages. To help give you a balanced view of travel nursing, we’ve put together a list of some of the pros and cons, so you can decide if it’s right for you.
PRO: EXPERIENCE NEW PLACES AND PEOPLE
As a travel nurse, you will get to live in more places and meet a greater variety of people in a matter of years than most people will in their entire lives. Think Age of Adeline, but with scrubs.
CON: STARTING OVER WITH A NEW PLACE AND NEW PERSONALITIES
If it takes you a little while to warm up to people and adjust to new personalities, then constantly meeting a brand new set of coworkers every few weeks or months may not be for you.
PRO: FREE HIGH-QUALITY FURNISHED HOUSING
Many travel nursing programs will offer you free, fully-furnished housing during your time in each location.
CON: HARD TO BUILD STRONG RELATIONSHIPS
If you’re the kind of person who works hard to forge strong bonds with coworkers and work environment, then the constant change of travel nursing may be emotionally draining for you.
PRO: NEVER GET BORED WITH YOUR SURROUNDINGS
Do you enjoy the stimulation of discovering new places and people? Travel nursing should keep you more entertained than a precept watching a nursing noob trying to find a tricky vein.
CON: STATE LICENSING ISSUES CAN BE LIMITING AND INCONVENIENT
Since each state has separate licensing requirements and guidelines for nurses, this can somewhat limit where you may be able to practice or, at the very least, present an inconvenience when attempting to practice in certain states. However, most states in the U.S. are “Compact States”, meaning they have opted in to be a part of a group of states that will allow nurses licensed in any of those states to practice in other Compact States.
PRO: FLEXIBILITY OF SCHEDULE
Many of the travel nursing organizations offer fairly flexible schedules and since each position is short-term, you will have plenty of opportunities for time off in-between (which we recommend you spend binge-watching Nurse Jackie #EdieFalcoIsBae).
While you may meet many new people and travel to exotic new locations, you might find it hard to forge meaningful bonds with people during your short-term stay. If you thrive on having a community of close friends and family, travel nursing might leave you a little on the lonely side.
PRO: BONUSES AND TRAVEL EXPENSES COVERED
Many travel nursing agencies offer healthy bonuses for taking on new assignments and also cover your travel expenses when relocating for a new gig, which means you’ll have plenty of money left over for those designer scrubs you’ll been eyeing.
CON: DEALING WITH CONSTANT ADDRESS CHANGES AND FORWARDING MAIL
As a travel nurse, you’ll be moving more frequently than a patient with a bad case of IBS. You can expect to be dealing with the paperwork and inconvenience involved in a change of address on a regular basis.