Stay Near or Go Far? The Benefits of Cross-Country Travel Nursing Jobs


By Lee Soren, contributor

For some travel nurses, choosing a location may be as simple as spinning a globe and seeing where your finger lands. For others, deciding where to accept an assignment is something that requires serious consideration.

Choosing a cross-country travel nursing job may seem risky and intimidating, and there are plenty of legitimate reasons to stay close to home, including a familiarity with the region, proximity to friends and family and knowledge of local transportation. But there are also good reasons to get out of your comfort zone and explore the nation.

If you're considering whether to take an assignment close to home or head off on an epic long-distance adventure to a top nursing destination, here are three major benefits of cross-country travel nursing jobs and what they might mean for you.

1. Higher pay rates

If you're willing to travel further on assignment, you'll often enjoy higher pay rates, especially in states where the demand for nurses is high. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, coastal states such as California, New Jersey and South Carolina are projected to experience the most severe nursing shortages in the coming years.

Salaries will likely remain high in these states and others like them, to entice travel nurses into traveling farther to fill desperate staffing needs. Other perks may include signing or completion bonuses. For rapid-response positions, which require nurses to report to work within days, pay rates may be even higher. For this reason, salaries alone may be reason enough to venture farther from home.

2. Exposure to new patient populations

As a nurse, it's vital to be able to work effectively with patients from diverse backgrounds to deliver excellent patient care and ensure the best treatment outcomes possible. Traveling around the country and working in a variety of hospitals can provide you with the opportunity to experience unfamiliar ways of life and discover unique pockets of culture that you might never have encountered otherwise.

Moreover, by interacting with people from different regions of the country, you expose yourself to new patient populations. According to Forbes, encounters with cultural nuances and even language barriers can improve your communication skills by challenging you to be an active listener. These listening skills will serve you well in patient interactions.

In addition to enhancing your communication skills, exposure to new patient populations can make you more sensitive to the diverse care needs of patients from different cultures and backgrounds, which can lead to increased patient satisfaction according to a study published on NCBI.

3. The opportunity to travel

In general, people who travel often enjoy enhanced creativity, improved communication skills and a better ability to adapt to new and different situations. Travel also lets you build great career connections, which can serve you well when applying for future travel jobs or permanent positions.

Sometimes, however, the biggest benefit that comes with taking a cross-country nursing job is the sheer joy of visiting a new place. Because many travel nursing jobs offer benefits such as airfare, complimentary housing and sometimes even stipends for meals and utilities, these positions can give you the luxury of exploring locations that might normally break the bank.

Accepting a cross-country travel nursing job can let you immerse yourself in a new region for weeks or even months at a time, providing a more in-depth experience than you would have on a week-long vacation. By venturing far from home, you'll find yourself opening up to new places, new people and exciting new experiences.

Ultimately, the skills you develop through your travel jobs are skills you'll carry with you throughout your career, and your varied travel experience can make you appealing to potential employers. While accepting positions close to home can feel safe, there are unique benefits to cross-country travel nursing jobs that may make the risk worth the reward. Find exciting jobs from coast to coast through Travel Nursing's comprehensive job search.


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