Being a travel nurse affords you the freedom many in the workforce will never get to experience. Typically those who work a permanent position have to stick to a schedule and use paid time off to enjoy time away from the office or wherever it is they are employed. Traveling nurses on the other hand have choices, and many at that. As a travel nurse you have the option to keep working year-round or plan on taking some much needed time off between assignment, it’s all up to you. There are of course some circumstances where you may want to keep working but the location or assignment is not what you wanted, so what are some things you can do until you start your next travel nursing job, that is if you choose to continue working as one?
Perhaps you’ve been doing the travel nurse thing for a while, and maybe it’s time to settle down for a bit. Lucky for you, there is the omnipresent nursing shortage and finding a permanent job in your nursing specialty shouldn’t be that difficult. Of course, it all matters where you’re living and what the demand may be in your area. Otherwise, you can pick up some shifts as a per diem nurse until you find the position you can tie yourself to.
If you can’t find the next travel nursing job you so desire right away, there are other things you can do to keep busy as well. A lot of staffing agencies will offer to pay for your continuing education classes, whether on or off the job. Do your research and see which companies offer you those options. By enrolling in these classes, you will keep on track with what is required for maintaining your licensure and give you a greater advantage when it comes down to applying and interviewing for your next travel nurse job.
Maybe you don’t want to work and a little sabbatical is all you want . That too is an option and hopefully you are prepared financially to take that time off without any worry. You’ve been all over the country, from big cities to small communities, but maybe you want to see what else the world has to offer. Take a cruise, tour Europe, go to Disneyland, anything else but work! Give yourself that much needed break and when it’s time to get back in it, you’ll hopefully be refreshed and ready to do what you love, all over again.
Some of you though can’t just sit around and bask in the sun, so what choices do you have if you fall into that category? As a nurse, it is obvious you have a passion for caring of others, so why not choose to offer your services toward a worthy cause. As you know the earthquake in Haiti this past January stirred quite a response from the healthcare field and many nurses and other professionals traveled down to assist in any way possible, some were sent to help through organizations and others went on their own accord. Obviously, there is a need for this type of help all around the world and even in your own hometowns. Volunteering is a wonderful way to utilize your skills, expertise and compassion while away from your usual occupations.
Take for example what a couple of traveling nurses do with their free time. Rosemary Mukalazi, a traveling nurse since 2006 helped start a non-profit organization to aid those in Uganda with health care, water and education. “I started traveling so I could have freedom,” she said. “I wanted to be able to do different things and go and see my family and do my mission work without having to negotiate with hospitals for time off.”
The flexible schedule that travel nursing provides allows Rosemary to take time off in between assignments to work with her non-profit organization, Harambe Development. This is a fine example of what you can do with your time. Another nurse has started a similar organization with the focus of aid throughout Africa. Dreams for Africa has a mission to bring restoration, dignity, and hope to people who cannot see any future because of their present circumstance in Africa. Both of these women represent the true meaning of compassionate. Using their talent, not for pay but for the greater good of humankind. This is the best example of using your time wisely.
Traveling nurses have many choices when it comes to their vocation. Some may choose to keep working, caring for others while some may opt to take advantage of the freedom and do what they want. Either way, being a travel nurse will never limit you, the only limits are set by yourself.