Leadership Roles with a Travel Nursing Background

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By Dan Matthews

December 8, 2021



How to Step into Leadership Roles with a Travel Nursing Background

Nursing today is different than it has probably ever been. Today, professionals are being called to respond to a pandemic that has ravaged our everyday lives. For many, this has led to burnout and a desire to jump into a new career path altogether. For some, it has created opportunities they hadn’t previously considered.

Travel nurses, in particular, are some of the most impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Demand for nurses to fill in is at an all-time high, which has allowed many to travel wherever they want at a much higher price than previously expected. The demand has actually encouraged more and more nurses to leave their steady day job and opt for traveling.

Nurses that have been in the business of traveling for some time now have long struggled with some of the challenges faced by a nurse that is “new.” Many feel as though there is never a great opportunity to provide leadership even though they may have decades of experience under their belt. Fortunately, there are ways to help travel nurses step into a greater leadership role no matter their current position.

Putting Knowledge to Practice

As many travel nurses know, the experience of working in a variety of different hospitals across the nation provides a lot of insight. Chances are they’ve seen floors that are run efficiently and effectively while providing some of the highest quality and most attentive care to patients. Likewise, they have probably also seen some real disasters where one nurse or leader is effectively dragging down the whole team leader to all sorts of problems.

This experience puts travel nurses in a unique position to learn what works and what doesn’t. Furthermore, it gives them a powerful opportunity to see what great leadership looks like and build a network of mentors that can provide advice on becoming a nursing leader. It can also give you a chance to adapt your nursing style to be more like those that you’ve seen become highly successful. 

As the experience adds up over time, travel nurses suddenly find themselves in the position to offer advice on where positive changes can be made in any given nursing unit. They can become problem solvers who lead from whatever position they are in. Great leaders aren’t necessarily those who strive to be in the spotlight. Rather, some of the most inspirational leaders many of us know are those who work quietly in the background to bring about positive change without drawing attention to themselves. 

Moving to Make Change

For some travel nurses, stepping into a greater leadership role will ultimately mean making a move into a more permanent position. Hanging up the travel bag and settling down onto a regular unit may be quite a bit of an adjustment, but it can provide the opportunity to put in for leadership roles that will give a more active role in the day-to-day management of other nurses. It could be the perfect opportunity to put all of the leadership skills learned over the years into action.

Other travel nurses may find that their role in making an impact can be bigger if they leave nursing for a different hospital role altogether. For instance, some may choose to go into medical administration. This is a realm that many travel nurses likely know a bit about and could offer positive solutions to — after all, many must deal with new hospital administration staff every time they move to a new location.

Still, other travel nurses may find that they have more of a business background they could put to use. Surprisingly, many hospitals need people with some experience in business management. Hospitals are large businesses, after all. The experience of working as a contract employee over the years could benefit travel nurses as they step into a greater leadership role within the hospital system.


Travel nurses have some of the greatest leadership potential. Many have experience in a variety of hospitals and have had a chance to see the good and the bad as well as learn from some of the very best leaders they’ve come across. Even if they don’t choose to stay in nursing, many travel nurses have the ability and experience to lead in other hospital roles that could make a significant difference in the quality of care and overall workplace happiness of the local hospital.

Are you looking for your next travel nurse assignment? Click here to view our job board. Have your assignment but still need housing? Click here to search our housing page.

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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