The world of nursing is changing.
Gone are the days when a nursing professional’s only option is to secure a job at a certain hospital or medical facility. And then work their entire life there while trying to climb up the career ladder in hopes of better pay.
Today, the mantra is changing jobs and moving from one assignment to another, getting more varied experiences, and earning better remuneration on every new contract over the last.
Welcome to the world of travel nursing, where you get to see the world while being gainfully employed.
What is Travel Nursing and What Are the Benefits?
Travel nursing can be broadly defined as the work you do as a nurse outside the city or state where you reside. Typically, these jobs are temporary and short-term ones ranging between 10 to 15 weeks per assignment. After you finish one, you can choose to either take up another contract immediately after in the same city or state or at another location or take a break.
A travel nursing agency like TactStaff has hundreds of vacancies at any time. You can easily get contract after contract with better and better pay and stipends as you gain more experience.
There are several benefits of travel nursing:
- Continual demand – The healthcare industry is growing at a very fast pace and there is always a high demand for nursing professionals who are willing to travel to where the vacancies are.
- Widening network – As you travel to various places of work, you will meet more medical specialists and professionals who will become a part of your network. They can help you to secure a lucrative position or even recommend you to a prospective employer.
- Competitive pay – Healthcare facilities hiring for travel jobs do so because there is always an urgency to fill up vacancies. Hence, the pay is always higher and more competitive than in stationary jobs.
- Housing stipend – As you will be staying away from home, those hiring for travel positions provide housing reimbursement. A travel nurse agency with best benefits generally includes this in their contract.
- Greater experience – In every assignment that you take up you will be adding to your experience and job knowledge, thereby increasing your power to bargain for better wages.
With these benefits, travel nursing is surely a very appealing proposition.
Salary and Benefits for Travel Nurses
Generally, travel nurses earn between a low of $35.71 (North Carolina) to $56.80 (New York) with several attendant benefits. However, you still have to take the cost of living and other expenses into account. You will benefit more from a low hourly rate, say, in Alaska, where living costs are lower compared to New York or California with a high cost of living index.
Apart from the location, your specialty counts a lot. Non-specialty nurses such as medical or psychiatric have lower wages than, say, nurses with vast experience in surgical and operating theatre environments as well as cardiac care. When you have the required expertise, you can command higher salaries and unlimited opportunities.
If you are interested in making more money, choose shifts over weekends, public holidays, or at night. The pay is higher with the same workload as on other days.
Most travel nursing agencies also provide a housing stipend in their contracts. We at TactStaff negotiate this benefit on behalf of recruits with potential employers as we understand that the right accommodation is important when you are staying away from home.
The Different Types of Placements Available for Travel Nurses
While you might have taken up nursing because your focus was being a care provider, the money counts too. Here are some of the different types of placements available for travel nurses. Check job listings at TactStaff and you will get a fair idea of the contract details and the approximate compensation and benefits that each has to offer.
- Intensive Care Nursing, considered to be the best among nursing specialties with matching pay.
- Emergency Room Nursing, required for treating patients in critical conditions due to trauma or accidents.
- Labor and Delivery Nursing, where nurses are required to have specialized skill sets in this area.
- Telemetry Nursing, requires constant monitoring of patients with cardiac, respiratory, or renal issues.
- Operating Room Nursing, one of the highest paying specialties in great demand in hospitals, surgery centers, day-surgery centers, and clinics.
Apart from these specific placements, there is also a high requirement for medical and pediatric nurses, critical care centers, and home care for the aged and the differently abled.
Tips for Preparing for a Travel Nursing Assignment
Travel nursing is a lifestyle that presents unique challenges and unlimited opportunities. However, it is very important to be well-prepared for your travel nursing assignment.
Here are a few tips to get started:
- Get organized: Ensure that you have an updated nursing license, health information, and health records. Prepare a resume highlighting your nursing skills, references, and current telephone numbers.
- Location: Start your travel nursing career at a location in your home that you can quickly visit if you are homesick.
- Show your skills: Remember that your co-workers and permanent staff nurses silently see you as being on probation till the time you show your above-average skill sets.
- Don’t take things personally. It is likely that as a travel nurse you will get assignments that nobody wants. Treat it as normal as after all, it’s your job.
- Verify pay and stipends: Your travel nurse agency should explain in detail the basic pay, stipends, and other benefits that you are entitled to. Most of them will be in your contract.
Do not ignore these tips when you are on a travel nurse assignment.
What To Do When You Are on Assignment
Being a travel nurse comes with its unique challenge and there are certain points that you should follow while on assignment.
- Connect with fellow travel nurses in your assigned location through social media so that you will have some friends when you land there.
- Stay in touch with your recruiter and inform them immediately if there are any issues with the paycheck, housing, or other benefits.
- Treat your temporary job as if it is a permanent one and the most important of your career. It might be a temporary travel job but you are not alone out there.
Resources for Travel Nurses
Nothing can beat your own travel nursing agency if you’re looking for the best resource while you’re on placement. If you chose the right agency to work with, they should be able to provide continual support in terms of information about your location, the prevailing weather conditions, accommodation, and other necessary inputs. You can also go through blogs about the experiences of other travel nurses in that place. Be active on social media to gain local buddies and to make new friends outside your workplace.