Being a travel nurse is not only a rewarding career but can also provide immense opportunities for personal growth. As being a pivotal part of the medical industry, travel nurses help cover gaps when staffing needs are high at hospitals and facilities due to maternity leave, seasonal fluctuations, or simply a lack of staff. Below are some things to consider as you are starting out in this industry.
Travel: The Pros and The Cons
One of the most exciting parts of this job is the ability to travel! As a travel nurse, you have the ability to travel to different areas of the country while still being able to work, which is something that many jobs don’t have the ability to offer. Having a sense of adventure while working is a major advantage in this line of work as you are able to fully experience new areas as opposed to a vacation where you mostly pass through your destination.
While this can be exciting for some, the concept of constant travel can be tedious for others. Sometimes traveling in this manner can feel like a vacation, yet it’s important to remember that you are stationary for usually 13 weeks at a time (but this can be anywhere from 4 to 26 weeks). Depending on your circumstances, this might fit in well with your current lifestyle, or it may cause some change in your way of life. For example, relocating often to different time zones can impact your sleep schedule for at least a few days but might also interfere with how often you communicate with loved ones back home.
Packing and relocating your belongings is another area of travel that needs to be considered. Again, contracts can range, so the amount of luggage you bring could drastically change based on your contract length. Because of this, relocating to your next location can be difficult if you have packed a lot for a prior contract, or you might find that you need to make some purchases if you extend your contract. Keeping all of these travel thoughts in mind will help you make the most of your new career opportunity.
Family: Consider the Impact at Home
If you have any kind of family back home, being a travel nurse can make life challenging at times. While it’s possible to have your family relocate with you, it might not always be practical. Although you might not be able to physically be with your family all the time, it’s natural that you want to protect them as much as you can. One way to do this is to look into a life insurance policy. While it’s not pleasant to consider, an important concept to think about is how your family will be financially affected in the case of your passing. A life insurance policy payout is a tax-free, lump sum of money that is paid to whomever you deem your beneficiary, and you can name more than one person to receive these benefits. This money can help pay off funeral expenses but can also replace the lost income that was provided. Taking this into consideration now will only help provide peace of mind for when you are on the road and away from the ones you love most.
Licensing: What You Need to Know
To make the most of this career, you will want to have licensing agreements to be able to work in multiple states. For this purpose, a compact multi-state license exists, which will cover you to work in several states with just one license. However, there are some states like Washington, Florida, and California that require you to be licensed to practice specifically in their state. Because of this, it can get expensive to maintain the proper licensing for this type of work. Not only can multiple licenses be expensive, but this process can be time-consuming based on processing turn-around times. To combat this, speak with your travel nursing agency frequently and feel free to ask recruiters about their licensing process. Keep in mind that the more licenses you have in place, the better your opportunities will be to work in higher-paying facilities.
Starting a new career as a travel nurse can come with many new experiences and opportunities. By preparing yourself now, you can ensure that you are setting yourself up for a lucrative career path that you will love!