I came across an interesting exchange online the other day about the pros and cons of travel nursing. It was basically one nurse asking the opinion of travel nursing of a few other nurses and thought the resulting conversation was worth sharing (I left in the typos).
“Nursing vs Travel nursing?.Hey guys, I am very interested in becoming a nurse to eventually work as a travelling nurse since it since they get sooo many perks. I was wondering what are ur pros and cons of travel nursing and how come more nurses dont do it”
“I was interested in this so talked to several nurses who had done travel nursing. The results are that you get zero orientation where you are assigned. YOu are put on the floor,given report, and you are off on your own. You are not told were to find equipment, the special policies of the hospital, just get to work.
One travel nurse stayed on the job for an extended period of time, so once she learned the floor, things came easier. I feel this is putting your liscence in the line, and making it dangerous for both patient and nurse.”
“i read the answer the first nurse gave you. she’s right. the money is great – the travel portion is great and the perks as yoou stated.it’s very difficult if you have children or if your significant other has a job. you really don’t make friends for the short term assignments. working in different places is difficult – rules are different – meds are the same but distribution is different – charting is different. by the time you would be getting used to it – it’s time to move on. try some agency nursing to see if you can get the hang of moving around.”
“Pros=money, getting to see new places
cons: may not be able to have a family with you or solid friendships, stressful being in a new place with new rules, you may not have complete control over where you work.”
“I think that if you wan to become a traveling nurse go for it but remember you will always be moving and it can cause problems once you are married and start a family! The good side is i think you get paied more than just being a regular nurse and if you like moving than it is the way to go!”
Now, why did I share this conversation? Not to scare you off.
First off I think the first response is a little extreme, but it does show that despite a lot of the great things about travel nursing, it is not for everyone. The type of person you are and your life situation plays a big role in whether or not you are going to enjoy and be successful as a travel nurse.
Because you will be expected to come in and help out right away, (with a little more orientation than the first answer describes) it really takes a nurse with experience, confidence in themselves and skills and a sense of adventure to transition to a successful travel nursing career. It also helps to have that rare combination of being able to be by yourself for long periods of time and being able to easily make new friends.
It also takes a nurse who is the right situation in their life. A younger nurse (with at least two years experience in her specialty) who is unmarried and has no children obviously is a great position to be a traveling nurse since they can pick-up and go to new locations every 13 weeks a lot easier than someone who has those responsibilities.
An older nurse who is enjoying the empty nest lifestyle is also in great position to be a great travel nurse. This is not to say that you can’t enjoy a travel nursing career if you are married or have kids, it just means that you will have to have an understanding family and strong support system and a good travel nursing company that can help you find assignments close enough to your home to not disrupt your family life.
However, if you are just in love with the idea of travel nursing and have a family there are definitely some options for you it just takes some planning and sacrifice. This past post about travel nursing with your family can give some tips on how to go about it.
To sum up, don’t let travel nursing scare you. Although you may hear some negatives about it from some nurses, like the one in the conversation above, there are tons of travel nurses out there who love it. But it does take a certain kind of nurse. You just will never know if it is you until you try it.