Seven Reasons to Celebrate Travel Nurses Week
By Melissa Wirkus, contributor
Okay, there isn’t an official Travel Nurses Week, but perhaps there should be. After all, travel nurses provide a unique and necessary service for patients and health care facilities across the country, and have been doing so for close to 30 years. There are also a number of unique features about “traveling” that make this a great time to celebrate your career choice.
So why not make it part of the nation’s annual salute to nurses?
Every year from May 6-12, nurses are celebrated and recognized for their hard work and year-round, selfless dedication to their profession. For 2012, the American Nurses Association (ANA) chose “Nurses: Advocating, Leading, Caring” as the theme for National Nurses Week (NNW). This theme is especially applicable to travel nurses, who have the opportunity to advocate, care and lead at many different hospitals and medical centers throughout the year, affecting a wide range of patients, families and staff members. So this Nurses Week, celebrate your chosen profession and remember to appreciate the many ways travel nursing benefits your patients, your personal life and your career.
Here are seven reasons to make this week a special celebration of your travel nursing lifestyle:
1. Your fellow nurses
Whether it is another travel nurse working in your unit or the nurse manager with 25 years of tenure at your assignment facility, celebrating and recognizing your diverse nursing colleagues is one of the most rewarding parts of this special week.
Take some time to write handwritten notes to the nurses who have made your experience at the facility one to remember or that nurse who always picks up extra shifts without any qualms. You can also honor a nurse by making a donation to the American Nurses Foundation in his or her name. These gifts support a nationwide initiative to help nurses’ work with veterans and their families to respond to post-traumatic stress disorder and brain injury.
2. That constant change of pace
Unlike nurses in many permanent positions, the word “burnout” is rare in the vocabulary of a travel nurse. The ability to explore exciting new cities and change work environments—perhaps from a prestigious teaching facility one month to a rural hospital with 15 beds the next—is, in itself, something to celebrate.
Travel nursing can provide a welcome relief from a permanent position that has become emotionally and physically draining, by keeping things exciting and original. Sometimes, a fresh perspective and change of scenery is just what the nurse practitioner ordered.
3. More time with patients
Freedom from hospital politics and more time for hands-on patient care are a few of the reasons many experienced nurses are drawn to travel nursing in the first place. Facilities bring in travel nurses to fill a need, whether it is increased census or to cover staff while they learn a new computer system, which means you will rarely hear about a traveler bogged down with busy work or non-patient care tasks while on assignment.
Travel nursing allows you to do what you do best – provide the best patient care possible.
4. New professional experiences and career growth
Gaining new skills and advancing your career through travel nursing is an excellent perk to commemorate this Nurses Week. The facilities where you work as a travel nurse don’t just look good on a résumé; the skills and new techniques you learn while at these assignments can propel your career forward, while building your skills along the way. Be sure to keep track of any new technologies, systems or techniques you pick up along your journey, as these can be valuable assets in helping to land that next big assignment.
5. Your personal recruiter and career consultant
Most travel nurses would agree that the most important element to a successful travel nursing experience is the traveler–recruiter relationship. Plus, having a placement professional work on your behalf, at no cost to you, is a definite perk. Once you establish a relationship with a recruitment consultant with whom you “click,” he or she can serve as your career counselor and guide, helping you find and secure the assignments that best match your goals and abilities.
This Nurses Week, be sure to thank your recruiter for helping make your travel nursing experience the best one possible.
(Looking for a good recruiter? Work with one of Travelnursing.com’s staffing partners, for personalized, one-on-one attention from a recruiter who will work with you throughout the entire recruitment and placement process.)
6. Some amazing travel nursing stories
Where do you find adventure? If you’re a travel nurse, it could be anywhere—from the road trip itself to any assortment of destinations: a small town in Alaska; a beach community in California; a bustling city in the Midwest; or anywhere you want to go! And TravelNursing has been privileged to help tell the story of hundreds of travel nurses who have seen it all—from climbing huge mountain peaks to forging new family memories and even finding love on the road. Here are a few recent travelers’ tales worth checking out:
Family-focused Travel Nurse Recognized for Skills, Dedication and Professionalism
Three Kids, Two Pets and One Husband = A Fun Travel Nursing Journey
Travel Nurse on a Mission for Peace, Adventure and More
Travel Nurse Finds Adventure, Excitement...and Love on the Road
Read more of these stories on the TravelNursing.com website or visit our YouTube channel to access travel nursing videos from our readers, featuring what they love about life on the road.
7. Friendships and camaraderie
The lifelong friendships and connections you make with fellow travel nurses, staff members and patients you encounter on your excursions are some of the most enriching elements of the travel nursing lifestyle. If you’re a seasoned road warrior, this week may be a good time to reach out to that nurse you met on assignment years ago and get back in touch via email, phone call or through a personal visit.
You can also celebrate these friendships, both new and old, by organizing a team building event, fundraiser, or off-site lunch. The ANA provides a great list of suggestions and ideas for celebrating and building comradeship.
Remember, National Nurses Week is also about recognizing nurses throughout the year, not just this week in May. These events, activities and small gestures of recognition are things you can do throughout the year to help celebrate travel nursing all year long.
What are the things you most appreciate about being a travel nurse? Let us know on TravelNursing.com’s FaceBook page!