Are you a medical travel bug?
Traditionally, many professionals in the healthcare industry have to put down roots once they’ve secured a full-time position in a hospital or clinic, giving up more transient lifestyles in order to be available when and where their patients need them.
However, travel bugs, don’t despair just yet — you don’t necessarily have to choose between your suitcase and your scrubs. There are many lucrative opportunities in medical travel as long as you know where to look.
Consider a career in travel nursing.
If your dream is to have a fulfilling career in healthcare that also lets you scratch the travel itch, then travel nursing may be the opportunity you’ve been looking for. As a travel nurse, you can enjoy many unique benefits in compensation, professional growth, and new experiences, giving you the chance to chase your dreams, reach your goals, and advance your healthcare career on your own terms.
Sound good to you so far? Let’s dive into more details on how and why travel nursing can benefit both you and the wider healthcare industry.
What is travel nursing?
Travel nursing is just what it sounds like: qualified registered nurses working as (independent contractors) , traveling between hospitals and other healthcare facilities for temporary assignments that typically last for about 13 weeks. This employment model allows patient care teams to address seasonal nursing shortages and fill positions opened up by permanent staff on temporary leave. At the same time, it allows nurses the freedom and flexibility to travel, explore, and take ownership of the direction of their career in terms of both geography and professional development.
As a travel nurse, you can take temporary full- or part-time positions at prestigious facilities throughout the state, country, or even internationally. There are opportunities available for nurses of all specialties. Many travel nurses choose to work with a travel nursing agency like Abbella Medical Staffing in order to find the best assignments and negotiate fair pay and benefits.
The Benefits of Travel Nursing
1. Work in a variety of prestigious healthcare facilities nationwide.
When you partner with a reliable medical staffing agency as a travel nurse, they can use their professional network to help you find placements in a variety of prestigious facilities throughout the state or country. Not only is this experience great for beefing up your nursing resume, but you’ll also get to try out a variety of medical settings to see which environment you prefer working in: for-profit vs non-profit, urban vs rural, large hospitals vs small clinics, trauma centers vs teaching hospitals, etc.
Many medical professionals never get this opportunity to experiment with working full-time for weeks at a time in different types of environments. As a travel nurse, that’s the norm, and you can expand your scope of care through hands-on experience. Also, some facilities utilize travel nursing as a “try-before-you-buy” approach to hiring, and temporary assignments often end with offers of full-time employment — so if you find a job you love, you may be able to stay!
2. Enjoy reliable job security and make a meaningful impact in addressing nursing shortages.
All nurses have a direct impact on their patients’ lives, but as a travel nurse, you will be able to go where you are most needed — and therefore, work where you can make the biggest difference.
As the Baby Boomer generation ages and the need for healthcare grows nationwide, the United States is currently experiencing a nursing shortage that is expected to intensify in the near future. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’s Occupational Outlook for Registered Nurses, the demand for RNs is expected to increase by 12% between 2018 and 2028, far more quickly than the projected 7% growth rate across all occupations.
Many facilities are expected to struggle to keep up with increasing demand for nursing staff. Fortunately, travel nurses are well-positioned to address regional or seasonal nursing shortages and make a meaningful impact where they are most needed.
3. Earn competitive compensation and unique benefits.
As a travel nurse, you can expect to earn a wage that is competitive with wages for stationary RNs in permanent staff positions. In 2018, the median pay for registered nurses was nearly $72,000 per year — and as you gain experience or choose a specialty, and the demand for qualified nurses grows, you can expect healthy wage growth as well.
Additionally, many travel nurses have even better earning potential than permanent staff nurses thanks to special travel benefits and compensation opportunities from travel nursing agencies. Many medical staffing networks offer:
- Tax-free per diems for meals and incidentals
- Completion and referral bonuses
- Benefits packages with health insurance and retirement plans
- Free private housing or housing stipends
- Subsidies or reimbursements for licensing requirements
- Relocation assistance
- Opportunities to work overtime or develop a more lucrative specialty
This all translates to more weekly take-home pay and better cash flow for you so that you can upgrade your lifestyle or grow your savings or investments.
4. Advance your career opportunities while enjoying professional flexibility.
Since travel nursing assignments vary by length, location, and specialty, you can tailor your own assignments to expand your professional network and advance your unique career goals. Your experiences as a travel nurse may result in:
- Finding new passions or deciding on a new specialization
- Learning new skills in a variety of clinical settings
- Gaining professional contacts for future references or other career opportunities
- Finding a full-time position in a facility you love
In general, travel nursing gives you access to a wide body of knowledge and experience, and even if it backfires and you end up in a professional assignment you’re not enjoying, you only have to be there for a few months.
5. Build the lifestyle you want and enjoy opportunities for personal growth.
Professional opportunities aside, many travel nurses are in it for the adventure! Travel nursing is a unique job that lets you explore your options and build the lifestyle you want.
You can take assignments in new cities or environments you’re curious to experience, build new hobbies and find new interests, and meet new friends and grow your personal network. You can bring along your loved ones, or go it alone. You can take breaks between assignments, and many temporary positions even allow you to build your weekly schedule around your needs, so you can work when you want and arrange longer weekends and shorter work weeks.
As a travel nurse, you get to experience travel and personal freedom in a way most people never do. With multi-week assignments, you’ll get to truly experience a place before moving on (or choosing to stay!), and with your job and income taken care of, you’ve got endless freedom to explore the other aspects of your life.
6. Enjoy 24/7 support from your medical staffing agency.
One of the best parts of travel nursing? You get to maintain your independence and choose your adventures, but you never have to figure it all out alone. With a medical staffing agency like Abbella by your side, you can enjoy all the upsides of travel nursing while minimizing the stress and enjoying 24/7 support.
We can help you navigate the challenges of travel nursing by:
- Finding assignments and securing placements in good positions that fit your criteria
- Helping you understand your compensation, including calculating your take-home pay each week so that you can accurately manage your budget
- Coordinating orientation and onboarding assistance for each new assignment, helping you seamlessly transition to a new job and a new place
- Keeping you up-to-date and compliant with all licensing requirements and credentials to maintain your eligibility for assignments
If you partner with Abbella Medical Staffing, you’ll receive a formal contract for each job assignment that clearly lays out your roles and responsibilities along with ours. We are available for assistance anytime, anywhere — our team is responsive 24/7.
Ready to start your travel nursing career? Find out if you’re eligible and how to begin.
Eligibility Requirements for Travel Nursing
The eligibility requirements for becoming a travel nurse depend on the medical staffing agency you choose to work with and the specialization of the position(s) that you’re interested in.
Minimum qualifications typically entail:
- An Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN)
- Successful passage of the NCLEX-RN exam
However, most travel nurses have:
- A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or Masters in Nursing (MSN)
- 12 months of experience working as an RN
On top of these basic qualifications, some travel nurses have additional intensive training in specialty areas such as oncology or intensive care. Nurses with specializations are often more in-demand and enjoy more opportunities and higher pay. A good medical staffing network can help travel nurses maintain their licensing requirements and specialization credentials for the states and facilities where they will be working.
If you’re interested in travel nursing, the team at Abbella Medical Staffing is here to help! Our medical staffing network is based in Baltimore, MD, but we can connect qualified nurses to opportunities all throughout the East Coast and nationwide.
When you contact us, we’ll schedule an interview between you and one of our recruiters. Here, we’ll discuss your professional background and goals to help narrow down our recommendations to positions that will best meet your needs. From there, we’ll help you maintain (or obtain) the necessary credentials, arrange interviews with facilities, and get you placed in travel nursing assignments you’ll love. Along the way, you’ll have 24/7 support and responsive communication from us.
Apply now to get started! Your travel nursing career awaits.