There are many advantages and disadvantages of a traveling nurse position. These health care professionals are RNs with standard training and education who are assigned to various locations to fill temporary staffing needs.
There are excellent advantages to being a travel nurse. The biggest perk is the pay. Travel nurses receive higher salaries and benefits and do not have as many personal expenses. In fact, travel nurses often receive free housing and cash bonuses. Therefore, travel nurses can quickly save up a lot of money. In addition to this, travel nurses are paid to travel to work locations, which may be near exciting and beautiful places.
Travel nurses are generally allowed to take off unpaid personal time between assignments. Even better, there are no contracts that require the travel nurse to immediately start their next job. As a result, a travel nurse who just completed a job near the beach can take off a few weeks and not have to worry about their income.
There are also the benefits of career development and professional growth as travel nurses are exposed to many types of health care assignments and facilities. They may work in a renowned teaching facility one month and then a small, rural hospital the next month. This aggregated work experience will quickly enhance an RNs nursing, organizational and technical competencies.
Bear in mind that traveling itself is a rewarding experience as travelers leave their comfort zone and challenge their fears of unfamiliar things. For example, travel nurses will work with many different types of patients, so their nursing knowledge will continually grow.
The most apparent downside of being a travel nurse is the instability. Travel nurses may work in one location for a few months and become proficient in their unique position. They may have friends and feel settled down. However, they may suddenly be required to move to a new location and start all over again.
Even travel nurses who are assigned to a facility will experience scheduling frustrations. This is because nurse administrators may view travel nurses differently from their own staff. Consequently, nurse administrators tend to assign overnight, evening and weekend shifts to travel nurses. As a result, travel nurses may have limited personal time for socializing.
Many travel nurses lack the same training and specialized skills that other RNs have who permanently work in the same position. Therefore, a travel nurse with limited work experience may suddenly have to work with RN specialists who deal with anything from pediatrics to oncology to geriatrics. This lack of specialized training means that travel nurses may experience stress and frustration during difficult assignments.
Consider the fact that when downsizing, most hospitals will terminate travel nurse positions before permanent positions. Sometimes, this is because health care administrators may consider travel nurses to be expendable assets. Being a travel nurse is suited for flexible professionals, but is very difficult for those in a relationship and those with family responsibilities.
There are clear advantages of a traveling nurse position, such as getting paid to travel and saving up money. However, unstable schedules and scheduling frustrations are a downside.
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