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By January 21, 2014 3 Comments

Ask a Travel Nurse: Can I take long breaks between travel nursing assignments?

Ask a Travel Nurse: Can I take long breaks between travel nursing assignments?

Ask a Travel Nurse: Can I take long breaks between travel nursing assignments?

Ask a Travel Nurse Question:

I am thinking of entering the travel nurse field and I was wondering: Does taking long breaks in between assignments looks bad on a travel nurse resume?

Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:

The answer to this would be based on the perception of the person looking at your file. It would also be based on what you were doing during those periods off.

When I lived in Ohio, I would travel about nine months out of the year and then take summers off and return home. However, during those summer months, I worked per diem at a local hospital in their ICU. So even though I was not traveling, I was keeping up my skills with recent critical care experience. That probably would not even be a hesitation when someone looked at my file because I was continuing to work as a critical care nurse and I did have quite a few other assignments under my belt.

If you were to do something similar, I’m sure that many would not hold this time off against you. However, if you are talking about taking two months off in the winter to go skiing in Aspen, and then two months in the summer to go kayaking in Alaska, then it might be more of an issue. If you increased that time without doing nursing (like spending a year abroad studying the migration patterns of the common crow), then it would be even more of an issue.

You will need to maintain some sort of experience in your specialty throughout your career to ensure that you will be atop the files when unit managers are considering a h and ful of applicants for a travel position. However, when you have been at it 5-10 years and  have a dozen or more contracts under your belt, it does become less of an issue despite what you did with your time off.

A good dose of common sense, and maybe a little input from your travel recruiter, will also go a long way in ensuring that the assignments keep a comin’.

Hope this answers your question.


About the Author:

Hello everyone. I’m a travel nurse originally from Ohio who graduated in 1993 from Mount Carmel School of Nursing in Columbus. I completed a critical care fellowship at Riverside Methodist Hospital in 1994 and started traveling in that specialty a year later. My first travel assignment was in Maui and since that time I have completed close to 40 different contracts in various states with multiple travel companies. I am the author of Travel Nurse’s Bible (A Guide to Everything on Travel Nursing), in addition to my writings here and in the pages of Travel Nursing publications such as Healthcare Traveler Magazine and American Nurse Today. I am presently on assignment in Phoenix, AZ and travel anywhere from six to eleven months of the year.

3 Comments on "Ask a Travel Nurse: Can I take long breaks between travel nursing assignments?"

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  1. Cyrus Kadkhodayan


    As I see, you are a very experienced travel nurse, and even wrote a book about it.
    I have been working as RN(BSN) more than 13 years in US, mostly in cardiac step down and progressive.
    I never wanted to be away from my family, but now I feel, I should do it because of some financial issues.
    My question is: should I start with a short assignment, or long one?
    I Personally like a long assignment.
    Where can I get bonuses for starting and finishing the assignment?
    Please give me some General advice about travel nursing.
    Thanks and God bless!
    My email:

  2. David says:

    Hey Cyrus. I normally caution people against going into travel for financial reasons, but you can make a good living as a travel nurse. However, I feel a nurse could make more, with a lot less hassle, by just working local registry, pool, or OT at their own facility.

    Any travel bonuses would depend on the assignment location and how dire a need the facility has for staffing. You are simply not going to find any travel company paying bonuses to travel to Hawaii or popular locations.

    The assignment length will usually not be of your choosing. A company may say, “We have an 8 week assignment in Chicago or a 13 week assignment in Baltimore”. You don’t usually get the opportunity to specify, “I’d like the Chicago assignment, but for 13 weeks”. Thirteen weeks will be the most common assignment duration.

    Your best approach would be to sign up with several companies and then decide on a location. Use your recruiter to know where the best paying assignments are and if there are currently any that offer bonuses. You can also ask your recruiter to seek out assignments only paying “x” amount, or more, per hour.

    As for general advice on nursing, I’d have to recommend my book, Travel Nurse’s Bible (which is less than the price of your next fast food meal) and can be found in the Amazon Kindle Store. You can link to it directly here:

    I hope this helps.


  3. Mindy



    I want to begin travel nursing, but I also want to travel for 3-4 month intervals in between assignments. Will that affect my ability to secure future travel assignments? I will only have around a year of experience prior to transitioning into travel nursing.

    Kind regards,


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