If you’re on the fence about being a travel nurse, I hear you – I was you at one time. Luckily, I took a leap of faith and decided to just go for it. I quit my staff nurse job after two years to pursue travel nursing, and seven years later, I haven’t looked back. At the time, I thought to myself, “Well, I’d rather KNOW whether or not travel nursing is for me versus WONDERING whether or not it’s for me” and that mindset right there changed my life.
I’m currently on travel nurse assignment number 15 and I can’t even count the number of ways that it’s changed me as a person and has changed my life for the better. So, if you’re on the fence – here are 10 reasons that you should pursue travel nursing.
10 Reasons to Be a Travel Nurse
1. Travel Nursing Makes You a Better, More Well-Rounded Nurse
Because you’re thrust into a new environment, with very little orientation, travel nursing makes think on your toes, adapt quickly, and overall, makes you a better, more well-rounded nurse. It also allows you to ask tons of questions and provides many learning opportunities because policies are different from hospital to hospital.
While it can be uncomfortable at times, I encourage you to take advantage of this! Ask questions, get to know how things are done where you’re at, and read the different policies. This will just make you more knowledgable and better able to adapt at your next assignment.
2. Travel Nursing Allows You to Experience Different Parts of the US
One thing that I really love about travel nursing is that you can move all around the United States, living in different areas from the east coast to west coast and everything in-between. This is perfect for people who don’t know where they’d like to settle down and would like to experience different parts of America. If you’re in-between a couple of cities, try a travel nurse contract in each city to better help you decide where you want to live.
3. Travel Nursing Makes You More Confident & Comfortable in Your Skin
Because you’re in so many unfamiliar and sometimes uncomfortable situations as a travel nurse, you learn quickly to be more confident and comfortable in your skin. While travel nursing is amazing for so many reasons, of course there are downsides. In my opinion, one of the biggest downsides of travel nursing is that at times, other nurses can be catty and rude to you. For this reason, it’s imperative to exude confidence and let those rude comments and looks roll off your shoulders. It might take some time to reach this point, but once you do you’ll realize how much more confident you truly are, and how much comfortable you are in your skin.
4. Travel Nursing Allows You to Meet Different People from All Over
Of course, another reason you should try out travel nursing is because it allows you to meet people from all walks of life! One of my favorite things about moving to a new city and starting at a new hospital is learning about the nurses I work with. Plus, you might end up meeting life-long friends everywhere you move!
5. Travel Nursing Allows You the Ability to See the World
I might be partial, but seeing the world is my absolute favorite thing about travel nursing and why I believe every nurse should make the leap from staff nurse to travel nurse. Because you’re making more money as a travel nurse, and have the opportunity to have more time off, it’s easier to see the world and travel around than it might be for a staff nurse.
Traveling the world and experiencing different cultures, meeting different people, is such a unique opportunity. You learn so much about yourself and the world that it truly changes you, your perspective on life, and I also would argue that it can make you a better nurse. After you meet people from around the world, when you come back to work and have a family from a different part of the world, it allows you to understand their culture and traditions better, and allows you to honor them more than had you have no idea what their culture was like.
6. Travel Nursing Aids in Paying off Debt/Saving Money
If you haven’t heard yet – travel nurses make significantly more money than staff nurses. This is a huge pro to travel nursing and one of the main reasons a large majority of nurses decide to try out travel nursing. This pay increase allows you to save money, invest, pay off debt, save for a house, etc. I often meet travel nurses who say, “I’m saving for a X and once I reach that goal I’m going to go back to staff nursing”. I think that itself is a great reason to become a travel nurse.
Read more: How to Manage Your Money As a Travel Nurse
7. Travel Nursing Makes You a More Interesting Person
I truly believe that the more experiences you have and the more places you travel, makes you a more interesting person. You have so many life experiences to draw on and share with others. Plus, because you’ve moved around so much, you’re probably much better at making conversation with others.
8. Travel Nursing Allows You to Think Critically, Think On Your Feet, & Figure Things Out As You Go
Of course travel nursing allows you to be a more critical thinker as it relates to nursing (see back to reason one), but unrelated to nursing, travel nursing allows you to think critically, think on your feet, and figure things out as you go. You might only get your assignment a week before you arrive, you have to quickly find housing in a suitable neighborhood, figure out the train/walk/drive to work, etc. The longer I’ve been a travel nurse, the easier it is for me to figure things out when I’m in a bind whether I’m at work, going to my next assignment, or even doing something completely unrelated to travel nursing.
9. Travel Nursing Allows You to Have a Flexible Life
You can completely build your life around travel nursing, take as much time off from the bedside as you want, or work as much as you want! Travel nursing gives you so much flexibility to live the life of your dreams.
After being a travel nurse for years, I now choose to work only 3-6 months out of the year, and live nomadically the rest of the time. It’s what makes me happiest and I can’t even imagine going back to working a full-time job year-round.
10. Travel Nursing Means You Don’t Have to Work Another Holiday or Night Shift in Your Nursing Career
Sure, starting out as a new travel nurse you might have to work a holiday here and there, or sign a night shift contract. But the best thing about travel nursing, is you truly don’t have to do something you don’t want to do. If you hate the night shift – only apply for jobs that are day positions. If you hate working holidays, either request them off or don’t take a travel nurse contract during holiday months. You have complete control when it comes to these things!
I’m not going to promise you that you’re going to like travel nursing. You might decide to go for it and after one assignment wonder what you were thinking in the first place. But as a reminder, wouldn’t you rather go for it and KNOW you don’t like something versus going for it and WONDERING if you don’t like something? After all, you could end up like me! Loving travel nursing so much you’re now on assignment number 15.
If you’re considering travel nursing, I sell The Ultimate Travel Nurse Bundle where I go into detail about everything from travel nurse taxes to finding a recruiter.