Where's My Next Assignment? The Ups and Downs of Travel Nursing in 2024

Where's My Next Assignment? The Ups and Downs of Travel Nursing in 2024

February 16, 2024

Travel nursing helps provide temporary staffing to healthcare facilities nationwide while allowing nursing professionals to see new places, learn new skills, and develop a rewarding career. 

Why choose travel nursing?

Travel nursing refers to professionals who temporarily work in various healthcare facilities around the globe to fill staffing shortages. Traveling nurses enjoy competitive pay and career development while exploring new places and meeting new people. Travel nursing compensation includes salary and living stipends, often making them more lucrative than full-time roles. Some benefits of being a travel nurse include:

  • Flexible scheduling and contract terms
  • Competitive pay packages
  • License and travel reimbursements
  • Good benefits such as health and dental insurance 
  • Professional development and growth

A Day in the Life

Right from the get-go, travel nurses have to be ready to jump in and handle the same stuff as the regular staff. That's why it helps to have some experience under your belt before you hit the road. The core of the job is the same as any full-time nursing gig.

Plenty of travel nurses, just like the locals, work long 12-hour shifts each day.  You know the drill – start with handoffs and getting briefed on your patients, the usual hospital shuffle.  As a traveler, you never know where you'll end up... surgery, maternity, the ER, or even the ICU. Some days, you might be bouncing between a few different spots, patching the holes wherever they need you most.

Like all nurses, traveler nurses are expected to take on basic nursing tasks such as assessing patients, administering medications, wound care, assisting with procedures, educating patients, advocating for their patients and their families, and keeping health records updated. In addition to being able to handle nursing basics, travel nurses are usually expected to bring their stethoscopes and wear scrubs in a color that aligns with the facility's dress code. 

While nursing skills and knowledge are expected on day one, employers know that each workplace and unit has routines that travel nurses must learn over time and through appropriate orientation. This onboarding might include learning state and local compliance issues, the organization’s electronic medical records system, or getting acquainted with the hospital layout, other nursing and medical staff, and specific operating procedures. When working with a staffing agency like Prolink, travel nurses can expect onboarding assistance so they feel prepared and ready to pitch in. 

However, after their initial orientation, travel nurses are expected to integrate neatly into the unit, ward, or department where they are filling in. That means arriving ready daily to pitch in and care for their patients.

Travel perks: off-the-clock time

Girl Hiking

Nursing is a demanding career. Travel nursing helps migrate from the associated stress by opening up a whole new town, city, state, or even country for exploration. Your off-the-clock time can be as important to travel nurses as their professional time. 

Exploring new places is one of the best perks of becoming a travel nurse—and it is often the top reason travel nurses shift from full-time work in their hometown to filling temporary roles in new places. Many travel nurses choose not to travel within the states they live in so that they can explore spots they wouldn’t usually get to see. As a travel nurse, not only can you visit dream destinations, from coast to coast, and even Hawaii, you get paid to do it!

Off the clock, travel nurses can use their time off to explore their new city, try local restaurants, visit historic sites, wander around art museums, take in a show, take a book to the beach, or hit the trails at a local park. Not only is this a fun way to spend your spare time, but travelers also use this exploration time to recharge and prepare for the next workday.  

Charting a Different Course: Thoughts on Travel Nursing

Travel nursing is a flexible and exciting career path. Travel nurses bring their skills and expertise to diverse settings, including hospitals, clinics, and other medical institutions, providing essential care to needy patients. This unique role allows nurses to explore new places, experience different healthcare systems, and engage with diverse patient populations.

Travel nursing offers not only professional growth but also the opportunity for personal enrichment through cultural exposure and adventure. Travel nursing might be right for you if you like to live flexibly, are adaptable, and like a touch of adventure. It’s an intriguing career option for anyone looking for career development and time for exploration.  

Considering a career in travel nursing? 

Prolink has attractive assignments nationwide, and our recruiters will partner with you every step of the way. Partner with Prolink, and a dedicated recruiter will match you with your ideal travel nurse job. Get started today by clicking below to create your account.

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