You’ve discovered the amazing opportunity to be a travel nurse! But maybe you’ve run across some people who want to throw something of a wet blanket on your excitement. They, too, have heard of travel nursing, and they want to “warn” you about some pitfalls. Mostly, however, these myths and misconceptions are nothing more than that, and are easily debunked.
MYTH: Travel nursing isn’t stable work
Fact: Travel nursing can in fact be as stable as any other job, although the transience might make it seem less so. Most travel nurses work as much as they want, either working continuously or with small breaks in between assignments.
Health care doesn’t take breaks, and many medical facilities are regularly dealing with staffing shortages, especially in our post-pandemic society. Signing with a travel staffing agency can ensure you are steadily working, as well as provide you with benefits such as health insurance. Although the pay packages may vary from assignment to assignment, normally you will be working as much as you want to work.
MYTH: You don’t get to choose your housing options
Fact: Most travel nurse agencies offer many different types of housing situations. Want to travel with your spouse/partner or family? Work with your staffing agency to find the right option. Pet friendly? Those opportunities are out there too!
Many people also assume that travel nurses automatically will be placed in shared housing with other travelers. Although this can be one possibility, and may in fact work for you, it is not necessarily a foregone conclusion for your housing. When researching a travel nurse agency, it’s important to ask about their housing policies up front. Decide what’s important to you. Can’t decide where you want to live when you begin your assignment? Websites like Airbnb make it easy for you to find a temporary living situation while you look.
MYTH: Travel nurses aren’t treated as well as staff nurses
Fact: Because travel nurses fill staffing shortages, most medical facility staff are more than happy to work with them. Having temporary help takes pressure off of local nurses, allowing them to more effectively do their jobs. You can help ease this process along by being flexible, and by working to fit into the process and culture of the hospital where you are assigned.
You may have heard the stories: staff nurses are jealous of travel nurses, because they steal jobs and take prime shifts. Or maybe you’ve heard that travel nurses get the dregs of scheduling assignments, taking the worst shifts. And although it’s true that it might be easier to get night shift positions or other less-desirable assignments, the truth is that by working closely with your staffing agency you can most often find positions that fit your wants as well as your needs.
MYTH: Travel nurse positions are only available in big cities.
Fact: The truth is, nursing shortages are everywhere, all the time. Your options potentially run the gamut from New York City or San Francisco to Little Town, South Dakota. And all of those options and many more are available to travel nurses.
Another myth is that new travel nurses have to take the “dregs” of assignments, going where no one else wants to go. Although it might be true that it’s easier to land one of these positions, many of these also offer higher pay packages and other incentives. Most options are available to any nurse, whether you’re just starting out or more experienced. Your staffing agency will work with you to decide on the right locations for you.
MYTH: Travel nursing is only for young people or those early in their career
Fact: If you’re up for it, travel nursing is available to any nurse, provided you have the right qualifications and experience — and that you are flexible. You may think that travel nursing means you’ll have to leave your family behind, but “travel nursing” can take place just a couple hours from home, which means you don’t have to be so away. Many agencies can work with you to secure housing where partners, families, and pets can come with you on your assignment.
And let’s face it: nursing is hard work, no matter who you are or where you do it. If you are able to perform your job well, you are able to perform it well no matter how old you are. Age doesn’t determine your willingness to take on a challenge, either! All of us can be up for an adventure.
One requirement for travel nurses (which is also quite common for local/staff nurses): stay flexible. Stay teachable. Stay open to new experiences and to learning new things. That kind of mindset has nothing to do with age!
A travel nurse staffing agency can work closely with you to answer your questions, allay your concerns, and ensure that your travel nurse experience is rewarding and successful. Contact Nurse First today to get started on your journey!