Travel nursing is a career that offers both flexibility and adventure. The job requires nurses to experience working around the world, and after a few weeks or months, they move to another place. The main reason this concept was initiated was due to the lack of ample nurses in different regions.
It looks exciting, for sure. However, there are both advantages and disadvantages to choosing this career.
- High income: Travel nurses are among the highest paid healthcare personnel. They also receive tax-free stipends, healthcare and retirement benefits, bonuses and generous reimbursements.
- Career growth: Through encountering different facilities, travel nurses learn to be more flexible.
- Adventure: Since travel nursing involves a lot of travelling, you will find yourself in new and unusual places with each posting.
- Exposure to new cultures: The world is a hub for different cultures. A career in travel nursing exposes you to some of these cultures.
- Freedom and flexibility: As a travel nurse you get to choose where you want to work and when. Therefore, you choose the time you spend with friends and family.
- Temporary employment: In most cases, travel nursing employment is contract-based. You end up jobless when a deal comes to an end.
- No paid time off Most companies doesn’t offer time off to travel nurses.
- Low or no insurance benefits: They get low insurance benefits because they are based on taxable wages, which are also low.
- Difficult to maintain personal relationships: Time spent traveling often means long-distance relationships.
Travel nurses share their personal experiences:
Dr. Helen Rook
I moved to New Zealand in 2001 because I wanted to visit a new place and explore a different culture. I started working at Wellington Hospital in the intensive care department.
Later I got married to Andrew, and we now have two beautiful children, Conor and Aidan. In 2017 I received a PhD in nursing, and I’m a full-time academic at Victoria University of Wellington researching on nursing values. At the moment here in New Zealand, nurses are complaining about the low pay, lousy working conditions and low staffing.
I work at DeSalaberry District Health Center in southern Manitoba, Canada. I love my nursing career because this is what I have always wanted to do, since I was four years old.
The theme of International Nurses Day for this year motivated me to join a group of other protesters to agitate about the ongoing cuts to our health services. I like how as nurses we come together to ask for justice and human rights.
I’m currently working as a volunteer in a community clinic in Cape Town, South Africa. The clinic mostly deals with refugees from DRC, Zimbabwe and Central African Republic.
The nursing experience for me has been very challenging here because it is different from what I’m used to in Ireland. The patients here are vulnerable, and diseases like HIV, malnutrition and TB are prevalent compared to Ireland.
The Irish nursing degree has helped me work in different environments. For instance, I had the opportunity to work in Australia as an agency nurse for a year. I have also worked for Princess Cruises for a year, and I loved it there.
I left Ireland five years ago, and since then I have been working in Victoria, Australia. Emigrating is the best decision I have ever made; working full time in Ireland I was never able to pay my bills.
Here in Australia, I have a good life; I am well compensated for the hard work. I am now a unit manager and there are numerous opportunities available to me.
I am a paediatric nurse from Limerick, Dublin where I used to work earlier in a children’s hospital. Currently, I work at King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh City. Emigrating has grown my career and also led to personal development. I now work in a big specialist hospital with people from different cultures. There is better pay here with free accommodation and 54 days paid annual leave.
Without a doubt, travel nursing is one of the best things that happened to the nursing community. From the experiences shared above by several nurses, it’s clear that emigrating has been very beneficial. Most of them now work with flexible schedules and receive high incomes. By working in different environments, they have gained personal and professional growth.
Though it comes with some disadvantages like being away from family and difficulties in adapting to a new environment, it is still one of the best careers. It is important that nurses are opting to move away from low-paid jobs and lousy working conditions. Nurses do great work so they should be respected and paid well. There are various organisations around the world that have come up to help nurses fight for their rights and also help them get better job deals around the world.
Sandy Getzky is the executive coordinating editor at The Global Nail Fungus Organization, a group committed to helping the 100+ million people suffering from finger and toenail fungus. Sandy is also a registered Herbalist and member of the American Herbalist’s Guild.