There is no doubt that travel nursing has been a trendy topic and more popular than ever due to the pandemic and nursing shortages. You may have met some travel nurses in your unit or have seen their adventures on social media. However, travel nursing may have been a goal and dream of yours for quite some time. For me, travel nursing had been my intention long before it gained such popularity, so you can imagine how scary the unknown was for me personally. Unfortunately, I had to learn some things the hard way and wish I had someone to guide me to the process. There are also a lot of misconceptions out there, so I wouldn’t want those to keep you from travel nursing. If you are scared to take the leap into travel nursing, I am here to help you through this transition and help set you up for success. Trust me when I tell you, the rewards will be worth it!
Debunking a Few Common Myths
If you are one of the many nurses considering a career in travel nursing, you’ve probably heard some horror stories or, at the minimum, some misconceptions. From being “too old” to start travel nursing, being assigned to the worst patients on the unit, floating, having no control over your schedule, being bullied by co-workers, or feeling like you don’t fit in. I’d like to share my perspective, both as a travel nurse and as a charge nurse.
You’re Too old to Try Travel Nursing:
My friend, you are never too old to set a new goal or have a new adventure. There is no set way you have to live your life; travel nursing isn’t just for young nurses. I will tell you one thing, you do not want to have regrets, and as I’ve gotten older, thinking about that has helped give me a new perspective on every decision in my life!
Travel Nurses always get the worst assignments and patients:
First of all, the charge nurse isn’t familiar with your skill level, and core staff often need the experience with higher acuity pts. No matter how many years of experience you have as a nurse, there’s always a chance to grow and learn while traveling. Being in a new environment requires you to adapt and be flexible. You’ll need to know your resources because with each new contract; there are new policies, new people, and new technology.
Travel Nurses are first to float:
While in many facilities, this may be true, you should not be asked to float to a unit that you are not comfortable with unless being asked to be “helping hands” to take vital signs and help answer call lights and phones, etc. Learning to float and be flexible is a skill; a skill that is only mastered by a few. During your interview, make sure to discuss floating with the unit manager. Make sure to get the units you are required to float to in your contract. It is very likely that after a few assignments, you likely won’t care as much because you have learned to be flexible and adaptable. Step out of your comfort zone and remember your purpose as a travel nurse is to fill a hospital’s needs.
Travel Nurses get the worst schedule:
The units I chose to work on have had self-scheduling with a weekend and holiday requirement, which was the same for staff nurses. Your schedule may not be exactly as you asked, but it’s usually close. If you know you need some time off during your assignment, it’s important to have those dates ready when you interview and make sure they are written in your contract.
Travel Nurses are bullied:
Unfortunately, this is a very real thing both as a staff nurse and traveler. Here are my “two cents.” If you go into your new unit with a positive, helpful attitude, you are much more likely to be well received by staff. Choosing a unit that already has a few travel nurses always seemed to be better for me. The nurses are less stressed, the on-boarding process is more thorough, and the management is generally more supportive.
Don’t let these common myths prevent you a travel nursing career— and enjoying the many perks that come with it: a great compensation package, professional development, and adventure! My Call to Action to you is to try it at least once!!!
Take the leap!
Check out TravelNurse101.com for more tips and education about Travel Nursing. Schedule your complimentary 1:1 mentoring session with Brandy today!
We hope you found this article on debunking myths and why you should take the leap into travel nursing helpful. Did you take the leap into travel nursing? Please share your story below.