Travel nursing may be the hottest trend to hit the nursing profession in decades. While there have always been opportunities for skilled nurses to take positions on cruise ships and at luxury resorts, travel nursing has taken on a new meaning with the critical shortage of nurses nationwide. These days, your nursing diploma can net you a career that allows you to hit the ski slopes in Vail in March, take a month-long cruise of the Alaskan coast in July and spend January on the beach in Miami - all while getting paid for it. The question remains: is travel nursing the right career move for you?
1. Do you enjoy variety in your life and your career?
2. Do you enjoy new experiences?
3. Are you happiest when learning about new people and places?
4. Can you easily transition into new experiences?
5. Are you a nurse or thinking of becoming one?
If you answered yes to the questions above, you just may find that travel nursing is the perfect career move for you.
Why Travel Nursing Is So Hot
With the nursing shortage hitting the nation hard, medical facilities have become very creative in finding ways to fill their open positions. In many situations, hospitals, nursing facilities and clinics are trying to fill both temporary and permanent positions in markets that are already stretched to their capacity trying to maintain minimum staffing levels. One solution that has worked well is "travel nursing". This is a situation where a staffing agency helps place credentialed nurses who are willing to temporarily relocate to hospitals that need their skills. Those hospitals are often located in some of the nation's most popular tourist destinations and metropolitan areas.
What's Great about Travel Nursing
As if the opportunity to work in some of the world's most popular destinations is not enough, there are many other advantages to travel nursing. Here's what you can expect when you sign up with a placement agency as a traveling nursing professional:
-Generous pay and travel stipends
While the hourly and per diem rate varies depending on the particular location and agency with which you sign on, you can expect a guarantee of 36-40 work weeks with hourly rates as high as $48.
-Housing or housing allowance provided
Most agencies provide housing in a private one bedroom apartment, with the basic utilities paid as long as you are in your assignment. If you choose to find your own apartment rather than accept the one that is provided, the agency will add a generous housing allowance to your pay package. The only residential and housing expenses will be for amenities like telephone, internet access and cable television.
The placement agencies work hard to make these positions exceptionally attractive. Your pay package will nearly always include fully paid health and dental insurance that will cover you in any part of the country. Many will also offer you a chance to purchase life insurance at low rates.
All travel between your home base and your assignments will be fully paid, and usually completely tax free. Since the travel is part of your work requirement, you'll also be traveling tax free.
-Variety of assignments all over the country
The many types of nursing assignments which you will have access to will give your resume an incredible boost. Thousands of medical facilities throughout the country regularly use travel nurses to fill their empty positions. Generally, your assignments will run either 13 or 26 weeks, and you can often extend your assignment for more than one period. As a traveling nurse, you will have your pick of positions in every type of nursing facility from busy emergency and trauma centers to chronic care retirement communities to renowned research centers. You will have your choice of locations as well, whether you prefer big city lights or quiet country nights or something in between, the placement agencies are almost certain to be able to place you in your ideal temporary job.
-Take Time When You Want Time
Your work schedule can be as flexible as you want it to be. Since you choose the assignments that you will take, you can choose to take time off between assignments, or decide to take an assignment close to home if you need to be near family. Travel nursing is the logical extension of temp staffing - you can work where you are needed, when you are needed and take time off when you want it.
-Advance your Career
Travel nursing gives you unlimited opportunities to add to your professional experience and resume. You can deliberately take assignments that concentrate on areas where you want to add experience. Spend six months in a major teaching hospital to increase your experience in surgical nursing, and then take on three months as a temp nurse in a pediatrics rotation in a busy city trauma center. Working on a nurse midwife's degree? Take an assignment in maternity at a hospital or birthing center that offers the latest in birthing methods, then spend six months in a rural clinic where you'll be responsible for nearly all routine health care to gain experience in office management.
If you enjoy travel, variety and flexibility, a travel nursing job may be ideal for you.
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Craig Elliott is a writer for Tafford Uniforms. Tafford Uniforms is a leading provider of Nursing Uniforms
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