10 Myths About Travel Nursing—And Why They’re Wrong

Travel nursing is a great way to earn more money, expand your skills, and see the country. However, there is still some misleading information about this rewarding industry. You may be wondering if travel nursing is the right next step for your career, but the things you’ve heard are preventing you from seizing the opportunity. We don’t want a few misunderstandings to keep you from following your dreams. To alleviate any lingering apprehensions, here are 10 myths about travel nursing and why they are completely wrong.

There is no stability in travel nursing.
Nurses who consistently do an excellent job and remain flexible have no shortage of available assignments. Although they are not permanent, full-time positions, if you are open to taking on various contracts, including those that aren’t your dream job, you can definitely arrange for a lucrative and steady travel career. It will require some advanced planning, but the outcome is worth it.

You have to travel to a different assignment every three months.
A typical travel nurse contract is for 13 weeks. However, you can choose to extend your assignment or even decide to have something shorter if you prefer. Not every assignment on the market is 13 weeks; some could only be five weeks, and others could ask you to stay for six months. If you and your facility agree, you can ask for an extension and stay even longer. Ultimately, the decision is up to you. It is essential to go over your options with your travel advocate before selecting an assignment and communicating your desire to stay in a specific location.

Making friends as a travel nurse is too difficult.
Anyone with a friendly personality and positive attitude can make friends in any city. With social networks like MeetUp or Facebook, you can find communities in your area that share your interests. Permanent staff and other travel nurses are great to start as you already have something in common. Simply asking them to get coffee or go to dinner can spark the start of a great friendship.

It’s too hard for an older nurse to travel.
Though many travel nurses seem to be in their 20s or 30s, travel nursing has no age restriction. Many older nurses are advanced in their fields and great fits for travel nursing. They can be major assets because they have the experience and background to adapt quickly to new healthcare settings and train younger nurses in their unit. Traveling can even be a way to ease into full-time retirement. Take an assignment, earn some money on the road, take a few months off, and repeat.

Too many assignments look bad on a résumé.
Travel nursing actually strengthens a nurse’s résumé, and it shows you can adapt to working in new environments with new people. More assignments on your résumé show hiring managers you can handle whatever situation is thrown your way. You’ll also have the chance to work at magnet hospitals, university medical centers, and other prestigious facilities through travel nursing, to which you may not otherwise have had access.

Travel nurses never see their families.
Many opportunities exist for travelers who want to stay at home while enjoying mobile health care perks. While some facilities have radius rules that restrict travelers from applying to assignments in their local area, you can choose destinations close to or far from home since you get to pick your assignment location. You can take a travel nursing assignment that is only one or two hours away from your home and request shifts that will allow you to take two to three days off at a time so you can travel back home weekly.

You can’t travel with a family.
Travel nursing is definitely family-friendly. Every family is unique, so your level of additional preparation depends on the scope and size. It is important to consider what will work best for you and your family members, whether it is shorter contracts, summer assignments when kids typically don’t have school, or longer assignments with extensions to stay in a location for a while. Regardless of family dynamics, you can be a travel nurse and bring your family along. You just need to plan ahead carefully, so the timing is right for you and all of your family members.

Travel nurses never get time off.
The great thing about travel nursing is that you have control over how often you take contracts and how many hours per week you work, depending on the assignment. After one assignment ends, you can take some time to explore your location before starting the next one.

You miss holidays.
Some facilities require travel nurses to work on some holidays and specify which ones in their contracts. In some cases, you can choose which holiday you want off to plan ahead of time. Some travelers even work over the holiday season but never actually work on a holiday. But if you are working, you can schedule time around some holidays or invite family and friends to visit.

Travel nurses regularly burn out.
While helping patients receive the care they deserve is why nurses love their jobs, it can be difficult. Burnout can occur while on assignment, but it doesn’t happen regularly. Staying in touch with loved ones, utilizing the trust and support of the staff, and taking care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally can help keep you balanced.

Don’t let a few misconceptions keep you from trying something new. Travel nursing is an amazing opportunity to see the world and advance your nursing career. If you’re ready to embark on your journey, take a look at our job board!

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