Andrew Wettengel / Monday, March 6, 2023 / Categories: Work World


Travel nursing tends to attract a younger crowd of nurses because of its many benefits, leaving many older nurses questioning, “Am I too old to be a travel nurse?” Fortunately, the answer to this question is quite simple—no. In fact, travel nursing is an option for all nurses, no matter what stage of life you’re in.

Is There an Age Limit for Travel Nursing?

There are currently no travel nurse age requirements. As long as you have the nursing certifications and experience you need, you can enter the field of travel nursing at any point in your career.

You’ve probably heard the phrase “age is just a number” before. For travel nursing, this motto remains true. It’s never too late to change your career path, especially as a nurse, and you’re only as old as you feel. Meaning, if you think you can still do the job to the best of your ability, it’s never too late to start.

5 Benefits of Being an Older Travel Nurse

Regardless of how old you are, travel nursing can still offer a number of benefits. Besides the usual benefits like health insurance, housing, weekly pay, and more, being an older travel nurse gives you other advantages too.

  1. You Have the Flexibility to Work Different Hours and Shifts

As someone who’s likely worked in the healthcare industry for some time, you already know how to adjust to different hours and shifts. For example, while younger nurses may feel stretched thin the first few times they work a night shift, you’ve already been around the block a few times and know how to adapt quickly. Working longer or overnight shifts may not always be easier, but they’ll definitely be far more doable than when you were younger.

  1. You Have More Experience

Travel nursing has become a relatively popular field, especially in recent years. For this reason, the job market can be incredibly competitive, offering a much larger talent pool than before. As a nurse that is already established, you have the advantage of more experience in your field.

Experienced travel nurses have the flexibility to work in several different settings, including types of specialties and facility environments. You’ve likely already worked with all types of patients, and with a strong resume, you have the chance to stand out from other candidates and land the exact role you’re looking for.

Additionally, you have the experience needed to succeed in any nursing specialty you’ve worked in before, and you’ve already developed other important skills that travel nurses need. For example, you likely already know how to manage your time wisely, keep an open mind, and work collectively with different team structures.

  1. You’ll Gain More Experience

Not only do you have more experience, but you’ll gain more experience too. In any career field, it’s never too late to stop learning, and travel nursing is no different. You may still be exposed to team environments or patient cases you haven’t experienced before, giving you the opportunity to learn something new.

Working with different people can also teach you a lot, no matter how old you are. Adapting to different group settings will always come with its own unique set of challenges. As an older travel nurse, you may need to increase your adaptability, especially if you’re mainly working with younger or less-experienced nurses.

  1. You Can Share Your Knowledge with Others

With more experience, being an older travel nurse allows you to share your knowledge with other nursing staff around you. If you are working in an environment with staff members who are younger than you or newer to the field of travel nursing, you can share what you’ve already learned in the past with others.

This can be especially helpful in challenging patient cases, as you’ll already have the knowledge needed based on previous experiences, making you a valuable asset for any healthcare team.

  1. You’ll Have the Opportunity to Visit New Places

One of the biggest travel nursing benefits is the ability to visit new places. Even as an older travel nurse, you will have the option to see many different locations and experience what they have to offer. If there’s somewhere you’ve never traveled before—maybe because you never had the chance when you were younger—now is the time to do it.

Furthermore, because you bring more experience to the table, you are more likely to land the dream position you want. If there’s a certain place you want to visit, or even if you want to be located close to family, both are definitely possible as an older travel nurse.

Can I Be a Travel Nurse After Retirement?

Yes! Travel nursing is not only for those who are older, but also a great option for retired nurses who may want to dip their toes back into the medical field.

Travel nursing during retirement offers a lot of flexibility. Because travel nursing is assignment-based, you can choose to travel as much or as little as you want. Additionally, many retired nurses don’t necessarily need certain benefits—like healthcare—that typically come with a full-time job. Without the constraint of working full-time to maintain these benefits, you can take on however much work you are comfortable with.

Other benefits you can take advantage of as a retired travel nurse include:

  • Bringing in an extra stream of income
  • Enjoying new and fun experiences with your spouse
  • Being closer to family and friends
  • Maintaining your physical health and emotional well-being

Many nurses may also find that traveling during retirement is a great way to stay busy while still maintaining balance. You can enjoy your retirement and work at the same time, which can be the perfect combination for those looking to maintain purpose even in their older years.

How To Become a Travel Nurse When You’re Older

Travel nursing requirements are relatively consistent no matter how old you are. First, you’ll need to have at least an associate degree, such as an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN). A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree tends to be preferred and will look even better on your resume.

Second, you’ll want to possess the proper credentials pertaining to which specialties you’ll like to work in. As an older travel nurse, you may already have the certifications needed to work in the department you want. However, if you’re thinking about trying something new, you’ll need to obtain the right credentials to do so. This may include certifications in:

  • Operating Room (OR)
  • Emergency Room (ER)
  • Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
  • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
  • Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)
  • Labor and Delivery (L & D)
  • Telemetry

Finally, you may even consider going back to school to finish a degree or earn additional certifications before fully returning to the travel nursing field. As we stated above, it’s never too late to learn something new. If you think supplemental education is the best move for you before starting your first assignment, then we always encourage you to take a chance on yourself.

Are you an older or retired nurse thinking about getting into the travel nursing world? Our expert recruiters at OneStaff Medical are here to help! Contact us today to see how we can help you find the perfect assignment that fits all your wants and needs.

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