Recently, someone had emailed me a question asking, “With the way the economy is right now, should I still consider travel nursing?” As with most questions, the answer is seldom the same for any two people.
Being a current traveler, I can tell you without doubt, there are still plenty of travel positions out there. However, I am also fortunate enough to have some additional training as a critical care nurse, which brings me to the first question you should ask yourself, “Am I in a specialty in need?”
To answer this, all you need to do is look at the current postings or talk to a recruiter from a travel nursing company. Typically, positions that require specialized training are more in demand. This usually holds true for critical care positions (for both adults and children). Plus, if you have additional training, you might be able to take a position outside your specialty if needed.
For example, no one in critical care likes when they have to float to a telemetry or medical-surgical floor. But, it is always assumed that a critical care nurse should be able to do so with ease (possibly not always the case). While tele and med-surg nurses would not be considered for a travel position in an intensive care unit, there are certainly tele and med-surg units that would consider hiring a critical care nurse for a travel position in their unit. The greater number of environments in which you are able to function, the more options you will have in travel positions.
Another question you should ask yourself is, “What expectations do I have in taking a travel assignment?” While there are companies out there that have boasted their travelers have made over $100,000 a year, this is not the norm. While you can still make a very decent living as a travel nurse, you might not find the rates as high, or as many positions with completion bonuses, as you did a year ago.
If you are interested in pursuing a career in travel nursing, there are a few things you can do to help with your success. I always advise joining at least a few travel companies so you can access more postings (I am currently on file with at least a half dozen companies). Talk to the recruiters and see what hospitals and areas of the country are still posting and where they have been placing most of their travelers. No one seems to be arguing the fact that the need for nurses will continue to rise and while the current climate has forced a few changes in the industry, I don’t think I’ll ever live to see a time when I cannot find a position as a travel nurse.
As always, feel free to click on the “Ask a Travel Nurse” banner to submit your questions regarding travel nursing.