There are a lot of myths concerning the career of a travel nurse. Some think that these nurses are less respected by their temporary peers and future job prospects, and that they make less income. Those people could not be more wrong; the benefits of travel nursing are actually ideal from a financial standpoint and benefit nurses’ careers.
Though travel nurses remain at their assignment locations anywhere between a few months to a few years, most typically assignments last for about 13 weeks. Some think this short assignment period is negative because travel nurses are constantly traveling and don’t have the chance to develop relationships with their peers. However, the benefits of being a travel nurse outweigh both of these things.
First, travel nurses get to constantly experience new people and places. Alone, this is a benefit in terms of traveling nurses’ professional lives. New people and places, and the experiences that go along with them, breed an open-minded understanding of other ideas and cultures. This allows nurses to expand their interpersonal communication skills and makes them more personable, both of which traits imperative in the field of nursing. Additionally, each city and state has different patient cases; and each hospital/practice has different protocol, as well as medical approaches. This offers travel nurses the opportunity to learn about and experience medicine in variety of ways and builds their skill set.
Second, some people argue that constantly “changing” jobs reflects poorly on a nurse to future employers. This, however, is wrong on two counts. First, travel nurses do not “change” jobs frequently; their assignments simply come to an end. Second, working as a travel nurse is actually regarded as positive by employers. As it is inherent of their jobs, travel nurses:
• Are flexible;
• Can easily adapt to new environments and situations;
• Have vast experience with an array of nursing methods and styles;
• Learn new procedures, techniques, and the like quickly; and
• React to situations quickly.
These are all important qualities employers look for in nurses and, thus, travel nurses may even be said to have a better chance of being hired than stationary nurses.
The financial benefits of being a travel nurse are many in number. Each agency is different in terms of the benefits they offer their nurses, but generally agencies offer the following:
Some medical facilities actually offer travel nurses incentive bonuses, like a sign-on and completion bonuses.
Discounts on life products
Some travel nurse agencies participate in discount programs that benefit those in their agency. This can include discounts on health club memberships, cell phones and service, pagers, luggage, etc.
Free or discounted housing
Many travel nurses get free and furnished housing accommodations while on assignment. Those who choose to find their own accommodations may receive discounts on or subsidies for housing expenses.
Because travel nurses are open to working in various locations, finding jobs in rough economic times is less difficult for them; this is because they can go to the locations where nurses are needed. And because travel nurses get a say in where they work, they can choose cities/states that have better economic stability and lower living costs.
Many travel nurses, in addition to their free or discounted living accommodations and income, are also given extra finances for incidentals and meals. This makes their cost of living even lower, and translates to a higher net income. In addition, travel nurses are usually given a definite number of working hours while on assignment; many times this means overtime pay.
While traveling to and from assignments, all expenses are reimbursed to travel nurses.