Andrew Wettengel / Wednesday, January 15, 2020 / Categories: Work World


Travel nursing is a truly unique experience that many people in other fields would love the opportunity to try. However, not all nurses think that travel nursing is something that they would be interested in. Part of this might stem from the fact that many nurses are aware of only the challenges that travel nurses face, like licensing, moving, and making new friends. At OneStaff Medical, we would encourage all nurses to try traveling at least once. Here are a few reasons to give it a shot!

Career Advancement Opportunities

Nurses who work at a variety of different types of facilities will have broader skillsets than those who spend all of their time at just one hospital. As you look for new travel nursing opportunities, keep in mind the kinds of places you are already familiar with, and broaden your horizons. If your first position was at a research and teaching facility, maybe try to find a position at a rural hospital for your next assignment.

Being in a new environment will also teach you how to be flexible and adapt to new situations. Additionally, different facilities will use different techniques and technologies. It is your job to learn how to use all of the resources you have available to you at each new place. Don’t forget that there will also be new policies that you have to learn and new people you will be interacting with every day.

Many nurses want to continue to grow their careers by taking classes. Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) might want to train to become Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), while LPNs might want to Registered Nurses (RNs). RNs often want their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees or to become Advanced Practice Registered Nurses, which requires even more training. All of these changes are attainable when travel nursing as well.

In some cases, nurses decide to travel to put themselves never the best nursing schools in the country. The ability to get training at the best schools in the United States while still working is a huge benefit for many nurses.

Constantly moving around also means that you will be exposed to a wide variety of diagnoses, patients, and coworkers. The diversity you will face at work will help you in both your personal and professional life.

Opportunities for Adventure

Exploring the country is something that not many people get to do. Travel nurses have the rare opportunity to continue to work while exploring different parts of the United States. A travel nurse might take one assignment in Nashville, Tennessee, and follow it by taking an assignment in Anchorage, Alaska. While in Nashville, the travel nurse might spend a lot of time exploring the music scene, and in Anchorage, they could spend time exploring glaciers and other wildlife. Quick, shameless plug, but Browse All of Our Current Jobs Here, and see for yourself all of the amazing locations you could work in. 

Many travel nurses discover their love for new hobbies that they would have never had the chance to explore without one of their assignments. For example, nurses who end up in places with extensive hiking trails may discover a love for hiking that they wouldn’t have found back at home. The new experiences that travel nurses have might lead to all kinds of new passions and interests.

Meeting new people is one of the biggest benefits of being a travel nurse. Travel nurses often have a large professional network due to their frequent location changes. While the professional relationships nurses gain throughout their time traveling are amazing, it is the personal relationships that most travel nurses cherish.

When it is time to hang up the travel nursing hat, many nurses already know where they want to settle down. Some even attribute it to the fact that they were able to travel to so many different places to discover where they really want to settle down in this vast country. Some nurses even reach out to previous bosses to find employment at their favorite hospital from their time as a traveler.

Better Workplace Environment

Stale work environments can lead to disgruntled nurses. The beauty of travel nursing is that you move around enough that you don’t start to burn out at any one place. Plus, there tends to be much less workplace drama for those who move around to different assignments frequently.

Travel nurses also have a unique ability to better choose where they want to work. Every few months, you can start looking for a new city or state to explore. This type of freedom is rare in the workforce. For some nurses, traveling can also provide an opportunity to choose when they work. If you are interested in having certain months off each year, you might be able to make that happen as a travel nurse, while traditional nursing staff will rarely have that option.

Amazing Salaries

While there are so many reasons that nurses choose to travel, great pay is one that we must include on this list. The potential for a good salary is enough to entice many nurses into the travel nursing industry. However, salaries are highly dependent on a variety of factors.

Nurses with specialties can often expect to receive higher salaries. With specialized experience in Labor and Delivery, ICU, OR, Oncology, or other department, pay packages tend to be a bit higher. In-demand specialties are harder positions to fill, so they come with higher pay.

Location is another key factor for salary expectations. Larger cities and states tend to offer higher wages. For example, states like New York and California tend to offer higher salaries; however, the cost of living can also be higher in these areas. Rural hospitals might also offer higher salary rates in an effort to get more nursing staff to their location.

As a travel nurse, if you are willing to work holiday months or in northern areas when it is expected to be cold, you are more likely to earn higher wages. Additionally, nurses who work through staffing shortages and strikes also have the ability to make more money. While most contracts are 13 weeks, others may be shorter or longer depending on what each individual facility needs. Extended or shortened contracts might also come with salary increases.

Another monetary factor that many travel nurses haven’t even considered is the cost of living. In some parts of the United States, the cost of living is substantially lower than in other parts of the country. If you are a nurse from an area with an extremely high cost of living, travel nursing might allow you to start saving up more money while living in a less expensive part of the country.

Remember that contracts are negotiable, so you might be able to get a higher hourly pay rate or larger non-taxable housing stipend. In your contract, you could ask for travel and licensing reimbursement and overtime wages. Extension bonuses are another place you might want to negotiate.

Have we convinced you to give travel nursing a try? Here is some information on how to become a travel nurse.

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