With the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown almost three years behind us, and boosters and vaccines widely available, travel nursing has started to look more and more appealing to those new to the nursing field looking for adventure.
With travel restrictions lifted virtually everywhere, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide for those new to nursing and potentially interested in becoming a travel nurse. Wherever you are in your nursing journey, Stability Healthcare is here to help!
What is Travel Nursing?
Travel nurses are utilized to fill staffing shortages around the country. Typically, contracts for travel nurses last about 13 weeks, which any one who’s worked in a hospital knows this is not adequate time to train a permanent employee. Since the beginning of the pandemic, there has been a huge nursing shortage. The University of St. Augustine reported that 21 million nurses will be needed by 2030. And nursing is currently in the top 5 most in-demand jobs. This is where travel nurses can come in and fill the most needed positions and shortages in a hospital or clinic.
Unlike traditional nurses who are usually employed by a hospital, travel nurses are employed by an agency. Certain formalities such as orientation will be significantly shorter. Furthermore, to be successful as a travel nurse, it’s important to be as flexible as possible and have the ability to adapt to new situations on the fly.
Can New Graduates Become Travel Nurses?
Unfortunately, to become a travel nurse you have to have at least one year of registered nurse experience. And to become a registered nurse, you have to obtain your bachelor’s degree and pass the NCLEX. Many prospective travel nurses use that year of training to become certified in their speciality and network with peers.
How Can New Graduates Set Themselves Apart and Become More Competitive?
- To become competitive in the nursing field and within the travel nursing community, you can start by becoming certified within the specialty you’re looking to pursue. Gaining deeper knowledge and understanding within your respective field will help you significantly in your practice. Additionally, a lot of hospitals and programs offer reimbursements, so be sure to ask!
- Another great way to gain a competitive edge is to network with your peers. Maintaining positive relationships with your coworkers is good for office morale and can help you in the long run if you ever need a reference.
Pros of Travel Nursing
There are many pros to being a travel nurse. In our opinion, there are more pros than cons, but we’ll let you decide. One of the obvious pros of being a travel nurse is that you get to travel all around to places that you probably normally wouldn’t find yourself if not on vacation.
Another pro of travel nursing is the flexibility. Most nurses have limits to their time off, but since travel nurses are contract-based, they can request their time off ahead of time. One of the biggest benefits to travel nursing is the money. Since Covid-19, the demand for nurses has boomed, skyrocketing the pay for most travel nurses. Additionally, many travel nurses make sure their contracts include stipends for housing and food.
Cons of Travel Nursing
Now that we’ve laid out the pros of travel nursing, it’s time to look at the cons. One aspect of travel nursing that doesn’t always appeal to everyone is of course the travel and last minute change. If you’re someone who doesn’t mind a little less stability when it comes to staying in one place for very long, then travel nursing will be great. Travel nursing can also be difficult for caretakers with families and other obligations. Being away from your home base for 13 or more weeks can cause some people to be homesick.
Whether you have your heart set on becoming a travel nurse or you’re still in school and weighing your options, Stability Healthcare is here to help answer your questions and guide you along your job searching journey. Reach out to us today or fill out an application.