5 Signs You Are Ready To Start A Travel Healthcare Career
It can be difficult to know when to start a travel healthcare career. Many would-be travelers can suffer from “analysis paralysis” thinking about all of the criteria they should meet before traveling.
Should I wait until I have more experience? What if I end up somewhere I hate? Will I be able to support myself sufficiently? Do I have to become a wizard at finding a new place to live every few months?
While those are all important questions, they are better left for after you decide to commit to a travel healthcare career. We’ve narrowed down five signs to look for when deciding to pursue a travel healthcare career.
Signs You Are Ready To Start Your Travel Healthcare Career
1. You want to see new sights
One of the most obvious benefits of being a healthcare traveler is right in the name. There are more than 30,000 active job posts on the StaffDNA boards at any given time that span the U.S. and cover a massive variety of locations.
Looking to hit the ski slopes in the winter? Some facilities recruit for the winter as early as August. Want to find a nice small town with pretty trees for the fall? Take your pick of northeast states right off the Atlantic coast.
One of the main factors stopping travelers from working where they want is having current state licenses, but even that is made easier because most agencies will pay your licensing fees.
Additionally, nurses and physical therapists can get compact licenses which allows them to work in multiple states with only one license. Other healthcare professions are working towards implementing licensure compacts as well.
2. You want more control over your pay
A traveler’s job flexibility also applies to their earning potential, not just location.
The keyword to focus on here is “control,” because while it’s true travelers earn more on average than permanent staff, that doesn’t mean they always will.
Since the traveler job market is fast-moving and highly competitive, travel staffing agencies are constantly fighting tooth-and-nail to offer you the best pay package and solid benefits.
3. You want to build up your professional skillset quickly
It’s easy to get stuck in a routine while working at the same facility every year. If you plan on traveling for more than a year, chances are you will work in a variety of different environments with unique challenges.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, this constant job hopping can actually help you in the long run because it will show potential employers you are highly adaptable and can face unexpected problems with confidence.
Traveling also means getting experience in multiple electronic medical (healthcare) record software platforms, as different hospitals will have their own systems. In a Black Book Research survey, 98 percent of travel nurses said fluency in multiple EMR platforms is a highly valued skill.
Since facilities are constantly updating or implementing new EMR platforms, travelers with experience in multiple platforms can apply for EMR conversion contracts, which typically offer much higher pay rates than standard travel assignments.
4. You are sick of healthcare workplace “politics”
Bad hospital management, interpersonal drama, pointless gossip, local union disputes—traveling gives you a chance to avoid almost all of the workplace “politics” that permanent staff have to deal with.
Since you have the option to avoid toxic workplace relationships as a temporary staff member, that means you can focus more time on patient care and improving your skills.
5. You are ready for a challenge
We’ve explained a lot of the benefits to traveling, but that doesn’t mean travelers get to just kick back and rake in money. Healthcare travelers have to be ready to face almost all of these challenges at any given time:
- Managing and frequently updating compliance documents
- Maintaining a tax home
- Managing relationships with multiple recruiters and agencies
- Applying for state licenses
- Multiple job interviews every year
- Calculating travel expenses
- Frequently looking for (and moving to) temporary housing
- Adjusting quickly to new work environments with limited orientation
- Planning on how to travel with friends, family or pets
- Loneliness or homesickness
- Constant on-the-job learning
- High expectations for job performance
- Avoiding workplace drama
If this list of challenges seems daunting, that’s perfectly natural. Traveling has plenty of positive aspects, but it may not be for everyone. Some travelers find they love the challenge as it motivates them to work harder and improve their skills.
The most important thing you can do after noticing the signs that you’re interested in traveling is to educate yourself. There are a variety of online resources—including this website—where you can find answers to any lingering questions you may have about being a healthcare traveler.
- Agency Reviews
- Ask The Expert
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- EMR Conversions
- First-Time Traveler
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- Healthcare Roundup
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- Nurse Contributor
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