Top Five Reasons to Consider Travel Nursing in 2021
By Alex McCoy, Contributing Writer, Owner of Fit Travel Life
Working as a travel nurse is something that can be exciting, intimidating, and life changing. For many people who have only worked permanent jobs or do not know anyone personally who has worked as a travel nurse, it may seem like an impossible feat to start. However, once you take the leap most people find that it is far less complicated than they thought, and the rewards that come along with it far surpass any of the hard parts.
There are a plethora of reasons why you should consider making the leap into travel nursing sooner rather than later, but today we will be covering the top five.
1. No Unit Politics
As a staff nurse, my unit was inundated with drama. My manager was sent in for a review by HR due to staff and physician complaints, which turned into her losing her position. Day shift and night shift were strongly divided. And of course, there was gossip going around at all times. I was emotionally exhausted and carried a lot of this stress home with me every day.
Once I started working as a travel nurse, all of this went away. I barely knew my coworkers, and we got to interact as nurses on a team rather than day shift vs night shift or this clique versus that clique. Management was minimally important to me because all I had to worry about was that my contract was honored and I was paid correctly. I was not aware of how heavily unit politics had weighed on me until I no longer had to worry about them.
2. You Control Your Pay
At the hospital where I started as a new grad, I was barely making $20 an hour base pay. We had relocated to a rural town for my husband’s graduate school program, and I knew for the time we were there that my ability to increase my pay was almost nonexistent. The only way to make more money was to work overtime or pick up on days where they had to last-minute beg staff to come in for crisis pay because staffing was extra terrible.
When you work as a travel nurse, you get the opportunity to see lots of different pay options across the country and choose what works best for you. Obviously, the cost of living will vary along with your pay, but the beauty is that you get to choose what works for you in terms of income and cost of living.
3. Crisis Rates Are an Option
Every nurse will have a different opinion on whether or not a crisis contract is worth it. Generally speaking, these are high paying, extremely busy contracts. Sometimes, you will arrive on contract to find conditions not quite how they were portrayed in interviews.
Some travel nurses thrive in this type of environment. These nurses prefer to go in, help where they can, make a chunk of money in a short period of time, and then move on to the next high need area. This is a very personal decision, but this opportunity will be less prevalent as Covid-19 cases (hopefully) start to die down as people get vaccinated.
4. You Can Take As Much Time Off As You Want
In the last year, many people are feeling the extra stretch of their PTO banks. Whether you were canceled due to low census when they first stopped elective surgeries, or you have had to drain your time off thanks to a Covid exposure or sick family members–chances are if you are a staff nurse right now the prospect of taking time off is grim.
As a travel nurse, you can actually take as much time off as you would like between contracts. Just because your current contract ends February 28th does not mean you have to find one that starts March 1st. Some travel nurses take months at a time off. You get to decide what you need and what works best for you.
5. Travel Nursing Can Help Relieve Burnout
Lack of time off, drama at work, low pay–all of these aspects of staff nursing contribute to an overall feeling of burnout. This is why travel nursing is a great way to relieve some of those feelings if you feel like you might be overworking as a nurse.
Sometimes it is not the profession itself that is the issue, but a combination of several other factors that create an overwhelming sense of dread every time you get ready for work. If this is you–consider dipping your toes into travel to see if it helps ease the exhaustion you feel with your career.
Whether you are looking to make big bucks or simply ready for a new challenge, travel nursing can help lead you in the right direction. The hardest part is getting started, but once you do, you will likely question why you waited so long to begin with.
Alex McCoy currently works as a pediatric travel nurse. She has a passion for health and fitness, which led her to start Fit Travel Life in 2016. She travels with her husband, their cat, Autumn and their dog, Summer. She enjoys hiking, lifting weights, and trying the best local coffee and wine.
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