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Top 10 Reasons to Try Travel Nursing Now


By Melissa Wirkus, associate editor

Great pay, endless opportunities and limitless adventure are just a few of the reasons why nurses choose to travel. Whether you want to explore the four corners of the U.S. or gain a financial leg-up in today’s economy, travel nursing can still provide opportunities for adventure, career enhancement and personal fulfillment if you're flexible and looking for more than just another job! Read on to discover the top 10 reasons to begin a travel nursing assignment now.

1. Professional growth

Working at different facilities, from top research and teaching facilities to rural hospitals, enables you to broaden your skill set and learn new techniques. "Travel nursing is a great way for nurses to expand their professional résumés while they enjoy exciting new experiences around the country," said Linda Gardner, a recruiter for premier staffing company NursesRx. Not only does travel nursing showcase your adaptability, but it also proves you’re always up for a challenge and ready to learn from each new facility you visit.

2. Make more money

Travel nurses can often earn generous hourly pay rates and most companies offer shift differentials, overtime and some facilities offer completion bonuses. “Traveling nurses are compensated with excellent packages including competitive hourly wages, free furnished housing and health insurance starting on day one of their assignment," Gardner said. Some companies even offer referral bonuses to the RNs who refer their friends—just another example of how lucrative travel nursing can be.

3. Job opportunities in high demand locations

Although the economy has kept many nurses in the profession, resulting in fewer job openings, healthcare facilities are still in need of qualified nurses to fill permanent staff shortages and meet seasonal needs. If you are willing to be flexible and try a new location or type of facility, you will increase your chances of landing your next travel nursing assignment. Nurses who travel enjoy the job security of knowing there are assignment options across the U.S. waiting once their current assignment ends.

4. Lower Your Cost of Living

With the free, private housing that is offered by leading travel nursing companies such as NursesRx, American Mobile Healthcare and Medical Express, taking a travel nurse assignment means that many common living expenses are eliminated or dramatically decreased. In today’s economy, many nurses are even choosing assignments in cities and states that are known for their low cost of living, further driving down their spending and monthly bills and expenses.

5. Freedom and flexibility

Travel nursing provides nurses with the unbeatable freedom and flexibility to choose when and where they want to work. Nurses are able to take time off between assignments to spend time with family and friends, or take an extended vacation. Annie Kennedy, RN, who is on assignment with travel staffing company Medical Express, recently took a trip to Guatemala to volunteer at an orphanage and clinic serving underprivileged youth. Her flexible schedule allowed her to take time off between assignments to pursue her interests and help others.

6. Discover new places

From the natural beauty of the Alaskan frontier to the thrills of New York City, there are no limits to where travel nursing can take you. Assignments are available in all 50 states, from quaint towns in the Midwest to every major metropolis. “I love being able to see the country and taking advantage of what each city has to offer,” said Mandi Smith, RN, a travel nurse with staffing company NursesRx. Traveling provides nurses with the opportunity to live in any place they desire, something few professions can offer.

7. No workplace politics

Travel nurses don’t become embroiled in politics or management issues. They go in, do their job and focus on patient care. “You can avoid hospital politics as a traveling nurse. All of your paperwork is done through us and we help you acclimate to your new environment,” Gardner explained. “Through NursesRx, you have the benefit of our 24 hour clinical liaison support; experienced RNs who can address any clinical or workplace concerns you might encounter for the duration of your assignment." If a practice environment isn’t an ideal fit, a new assignment is just a few weeks away.

8. Find the ideal place to settle down

If you’re thinking of making a permanent move to a new location, working as a travel nurse is a great way to “test the waters” before committing to the move. Find out what it’s like to live in the charming countryside of New England and then switch gears to live the life of a beach enthusiast in Los Angeles. Comparing different cities and parts of the country by way of your assignment choices is an ideal way to find out where you want to establish a permanent residence before making a commitment.

9. Avoid burnout

Pursuing a career as a travel nurse is also a way to avoid the “burnout” that many permanent nurses experience. Whether you’re tired of hospital politics or feel as if your career is at a standstill, travel nursing can be just the revival you need. Experiencing new faces and places, while continuing to do what you love most—caring for people, is a priceless opportunity that few other professions offer.

10. Develop new interests/hobbies and meet new friends

Exploring new destinations can lead to new experiences, such as skiing if you’re near the mountains and surfing if you’re near the beach. “Traveling has allowed me to develop new interests,” Smith said. “I like to explore a new city either on my bike or by going hiking.” Getting to know new people, from your new colleagues at the facility to friends you make outside of work, traveling allows nurses from all walks of life to intertwine with new people and cultures. Travel nursing puts you in touch with people that you would otherwise never meet, from new neighbors to friends who share similar hobbies and interests. The options are endless when traveling and a new location almost certainly brings about a love for a new hobby, fun activity or budding friendship that you never expected.

Ready to get started? Fill out our online travel nursing application to speak with a recruiter from one of the top agencies mentioned above.

© 2009. AMN Healthcare, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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