Travel nursing is a life-changing experience with life-changing pay as opposed to being a regular staff nurse.
The unprecedented need for nurses has put nurses in control. Staff shortages, supply issues, and poor pay all existed prior to the pandemic. The nursing profession has now learned its worth and learned that nurses are not disposable. These issues were not created by the pandemic, but after Covid 19 hit, rates for travel nurses have skyrocketed. Hospitals have a huge need to fill gaps in certain areas where staff nurses can’t fulfill the inflow of patients coming into these units, like the ER.
Chris Lucia, travel ER nurse says, “There isn’t so much a nursing shortage as much as there is a shortage of nurses willing to work in these conditions”. Staff nurses are leaving full-time positions to become travel nurses with short-term contracts. Staffing and equipment shortages are the reason nurses are leaving their local hospitals and healthcare facilities.
Apart from the unique need for nurses and increased pay, travel nursing offers so much more flexibility in planning work-life balance. All nurses experience the hardship of working over holidays such as Easter, Christmas or Thanksgiving, knowing the senior nurses will get preference. By being a travel nurse, you can plan your holidays to align with the contracts you apply for. Every 3 months you can choose to renew or not renew. You plan your schedule, and you can plan your year.
If you are up for it, travel nursing can be very rewarding. You’ll have the opportunity to travel to some great cities and towns throughout the country. You will get to meet new people and be exposed to new cultures. You can go to just about any city that has a hospital if you have the license.
Bear in mind, that hospitals are looking for individuals that will require limited resources to quickly become functioning members of their organization. Essentially, hospitals would like to invest as little as possible into training and orienting. This means that they’re looking for experience.
This leads to another great reason you should become a travel nurse- the better nursing skills you will develop. There will be hospitals that don’t have all the resources that you are used to, and you will learn to become much more well-rounded and gain experience that would take you much longer to acquire in one fixed location.
Hospitals are seeking self-starters. You’ll be walking into units that will most likely operate differently from the ones you’re used to, and you’ll be doing so with limited orientation. This way you will gain better people skills and learn to communicate and become better at resolving conflict. Coming into a new hospital means coming into an environment where nurses already have their own cliques and may have a negative attitude towards newcomers, especially a travel nurse who they know is receiving more pay. You need to come in with an open mind and open attitude, willing to learn. These skills will help you inside and outside the OR.
Many may have different opinions about being a travel nurse, and not everything will be positive, but your worth is more realized as a travel nurse and you are getting the pay you deserve. Nurse Chris Lucia feels that if he is doing the work of 3 nurses, he should be paid that way, hence his reason for the shift to travel nursing.
Leaving a full-time job for another full-time job doesn’t fix the problems that you are currently facing being a staff nurse because you are still going to be working way harder than you should be working. Zac Atwood, travel ICU nurse adds that risking your safety and well-fair and having to make certain life-altering decisions deserves to be compensated.