Travel Nurse Experience: Choosing the Right Time to Be a Travel Nurse

By Furnished Finder

November 22, 2019



Choosing the Right Time to Be a Travel Nurse

This article provided by: Furnished Finders

Making the leap from a full-time nurse to a travel nurse can be a tough decision, even for the most adventurous of spirits. If you are waiting for the right time to make the transition, you could find yourself missing out on great opportunities. To help you make the right decision, we will take a closer look at what makes this change mean at different points during your career. We will even look at how the time of year can affect your travel nurse experience and provide you with suggestions for choosing the right time to take on this new and exciting challenge.

When Can I Start Working as a Travel Nurse?

As a general rule, most hospitals and staffing agencies want you to have at least two years of nursing experience before transitioning to travel nursing. Medical facilities hire travel nurses to fill in vital gaps in the workforce, and they need you to be able to onboard quickly and hit the ground running. As a travel nurse, you won’t go through an extensive orientation, and you will be expected to acclimate to the flow of each new location. It takes a little bit of work experience to navigate these quick transitions effectively, which is why you will need to accumulate some experience to be considered for your top job and location choices.

If you are just out of nursing school and itching to start traveling, gaining experience will help set you up for a successful travel nurse contract. However, if you want to speed up the process and hit the road as soon as possible, you may be able to enter travel nursing a little early by choosing a specialty that is in high demand.   

While the field of nursing is constantly changing, these are some of the specialties that are expected to be in high demand in the coming years:

  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Pediatric Nurse 
  • Neonatal Nurse
  • Dialysis Nurse
  • Nurse Anesthetist

Keep in mind that while it is possible to enter travel nursing before completing two years of full-time work, an accelerated track may not be in your best interest. Being patient and acquiring on-the-job skills can help make your travel nurse career both more enjoyable and successful.

Can I Travel with My Family?

Many nurses assume that travel nursing is only for those who are single and don’t have a family or are still early in their careers. However, this isn’t the case. In fact, many nurses have used travel nursing to pay down debt and actually spend more time with their families. Generous compensation packages that include housing stipends can make it more affordable to live in cities across the country and save money as you work. 

The key is to find a nursing agency and recruiter who understands your unique needs and is willing to advocate for you so that you can enjoy the best possible work and housing opportunities. Having the right allies and a knowledgeable support system can allow your entire family to make the transition to travel nursing.

When it comes to housing, there are plenty of landlords who are willing to rent to couples and families. You won’t have any trouble finding safe and affordable housing that is also close to work. 

While traveling with children may seem like a challenge, it can be a great opportunity for them to gain valuable experiences. Traveling while they are young means that you won’t have to worry about switching schools, or you can use the summer break to take the entire family on a new adventure. Having a family doesn’t mean it isn’t the right time to try out travel nursing. It may be just the adventure and financial opportunity you have all been looking for with the right planning.

What About Finding Travel Nurse Housing? 

Housing can be the most stressful part of being a travel nurse. However, you have more online housing services than ever that cater to the traveling nurse looking for monthly furnished rentals.  Online housing provider Furnished Finder is the official housing provider of The Gypsy Nurse and is well-known as being travel nurse friendly because their hosts all have to pass a background check to help ensure your safety when you travel for work.  They’re also known as the most affordable housing option because there are no booking fees or mark-ups to rent since each host sets their own price.  When searching for housing on the Furnished Finder site, you can filter down results by budget, availability, pet-friendly, and room-type (room vs. a private unit). You can also submit a free housing request if you don’t have time to search the map and start contacting hosts. 

Why it is Never too Late to Be a Travel Nurse 

Nursing is a demanding career, and it can be easy to feel burnt out or stagnate. If you once had a passion for nursing but now feel like you are ticking off the days till you can retire, travel nursing may be the solution that reignites your passion and gets you excited to go to work. 

It is never too late to become a travel nurse. In fact, the more experience you have, the more likely you are to land positions at competitive hospitals and feel like a valued resource. A change of scenery and interactions with different professionals can expand your own experiences and spark curiosity about new areas and specialties.

For those who are worried about compromising your retirement benefits later in your career, travel nursing compensation packages often include retirement contributions. You can travel and continue building up your retirement fund so that you are financially secure once you choose to leave the field.

Best Time of Year to Start Travel Nursing

If you have decided to leap travel nursing, another factor to consider may be the time of year you choose for your first assignment. While it can be tempting to head to warmer climates during the winter months, keep in mind that you could end up far from home during the holidays. This could complicate travel plans and mean that you don’t get to spend as much time with your loved ones. The winter blues combined with the holiday blues and the stress of being in an unfamiliar city may be a lot to handle for a first experience. 

Ultimately, there is no bad time to start a travel nurse assignment, but spring and summer are probably the most popular. There are outdoor festivals and a lot more opportunities to enjoy the local attractions and get to know your new city as well. In addition, the longer days will help you safely navigate your new town. This will allow you to learn your way around the travel nurse experience and pick up your own tricks for getting to know a city that will help you in future assignments.

Choosing the right time to be a travel nurse is a personal decision

But no matter where you are in your career, traveling can be a viable and gratifying experience. Take advantage of available resources and find the right travel nurse agency so that you can secure opportunities and housing that best fits your needs. Also, consider the challenges that come with relocating during different times of the year and choose the best start date to have a pleasant travel nurse experience.  

We hope you found these tips for when to begin your travel nurse experience helpful. If you are looking for more tips on travel nursing these articles have some really great tips: 5 Tips to Calm Your Nerves Before Your Travel Nurse Assignment, Tips for a Travel Nurse Interview, 19 Tips for Traveling Nurses, or read our Travel Nurse Guide for a lot of great information on travel nursing.

If you are a new traveler or looking into becoming a Travel Nurse:

Travel Nurse Guide: Step by Step

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