Nurses Week 2023 – Honoring Travel Nurses Then and Now

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By Medical Edge Recruitment

May 9, 2023



Nurses Week 2023 – Honoring Travel Nurses Then and Now

Medical Edge Recruitment provided this article.

Written by: Alisha Layne, Recruitment Consultant at Medical Edge Recruitment

The history of nursing goes back over 170 years when Florence Nightingale and 34 female volunteer nurses traveled from the United Kingdom to provide much-needed medical attention to war victims. At that time, The Ottoman Empire, with support from France and England, were bitterly embattled with the Russian Empire over a border dispute. Though they were not paid or contracted, and the journey was much longer than it is today, these brave nurses who set out to save lives ended up making history.

Their journey to the middle of the war zone took a whopping 13 days with the use of various modes of transportation, including steamboats, fishing boats, and on foot. The journey was long and hard, but the worst was yet to come. Nothing could have prepared them for the horrors they would be greeted with upon arrival at Constantinople, Turkey. The sick and dying were enduring the most deplorable conditions. Infections were rampant, access to basic hygiene items was limited or nonexistent, and people were dying more of diseases than because of the war.

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The conditions were too much to bear, but the eager nurses were ready to jump into action immediately. Imagine their shock and horror when they were told that their help was not needed. At that time, there were no female nurses in the war zone. The poor reputation of past female nurses had led the war office to avoid hiring more. However, the war went on longer than anticipated, and soon the doctors on the ground realized that they needed volunteer nurses.

During their tenure in Turkey, these brave women were instrumental in changing the face of the medical practice during the war. Nightingale and her team instituted mandatory sanitary practices such as basic hand washing before and after tending to patients. They saved thousands of lives and will forever be remembered in history for their contributions to the healthcare sector.

Florence Nightingale and her team of 34 volunteer nurses became the first travel nurses in history, paving the way for a massive $27.6 billion industry that is still growing in 2023. While Nightingale and her band of traveling angels were volunteers in a war-torn region and worked through deplorable conditions, travel nurses today enjoy great pay with endless adventures and opportunities.

Here’s why you should consider packing your stethoscope and scrubs and hitting the road to do what you love most:


Travel nurses make generous hourly pay and enjoy sizable shift differentials. Many companies offer sign-on bonuses, completion bonuses, housing and meal stipends, and referral bonuses. These referral bonuses can be capitalized on and easily bring in extra earnings anywhere from $100 – $1500 or more per month.


How would you like to enjoy free water, electricity, Wi-Fi, and parking? Well, that’s exactly what being a travel nurse offers. The cost of basic living expenses is either drastically reduced or eliminated altogether. It is not uncommon for many travel nurses to take assignments in cities or states where the cost of living is known to be low. They get to keep more of the money they make to either take care of their family or do more of the things they love.


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Who doesn’t want to travel to a new city of their choice every three months? This is a dream come through for many travel nurses, and choosing travel nursing as a career offers the freedom and flexibility to do so. Travel nurses can discover new places and cultures, enjoy different foods, and experience a new way of life. If you are from the city, then travel nursing can offer the freedom to enjoy the countryside and vice versa. Because your schedule is entirely up to you, it is easy to plan a much-needed vacation or just take time to reset before deciding on your next assignment.


One of the best ways for nurses to broaden their resumes and develop themselves professionally is by practicing their craft in different environments and under different circumstances. It shows resilience, adaptability, and a willingness to accept life’s challenges while still being able to do the job at hand. Working at different facilities teaches nurses the necessary skills to do just this.

Whatever path you choose in nursing, thank you for serving others and for your commitment to improving healthcare across the nation. Medical Edge Recruitment recognizes the unlimited compassion, dedication, and kindness that goes into caring for each one of your patients. What you do requires a special heart, and we thank you for constantly going above and beyond!

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Need Help Finding Your Path?

Medical Edge Recruitment is a premier travel nursing recruitment agency specializing in providing top talent to clients in the healthcare industry. We connect clinical and allied providers to their ideal opportunities, focusing on building long-lasting relationships through honesty and transparency. In travel nursing, bigger does not always mean better. While we have an extensive network of job opportunities, our experienced team is dedicated to making a personalized provider experience a priority. There are a lot of moving parts in getting set up for a new assignment, but we take care of all the details along the way. Adventure awaits. Let Medical Edge Recruitment show you where to go next!

Our job board is a great place to search for your next travel nurse assignment. We have you covered with our housing page if housing is an issue. You can search for what you are looking for.

If you are a new travel nurse or looking into becoming a travel nurse:

Travel Nurse Guide: Step-by-Step (now offered in a PDF Downloadable version!)

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