I’ve been a travel nurse for six years. When I first started, I never expected to be here this long. I thought it would be a nice way to get some experience in the field, get a little bit of a feather in my cap for a resume, and make some great money while I prepared for something more “stable”. I had no idea what I was in for, and I’ve recently come to the decision that I don’t want to go back anytime soon. I’ve found my home, and it’s among my brothers and sisters and non-binary heroes in the travel nurse community.
The world is a stranger place than it was a few years ago. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything, and our industry is no different. They say that necessity is the catalyst for innovation, and the health care field is under a titanic amount of need right now. Staffing shortages have created a major crisis. Retail staffing crises are annoyances. Tech manufacturing supply crises are bad news. But the medical field? Medical staffing crises are life-threatening to huge swaths of the country. There are some really great travel nurse benefits you should consider when thinking about joining us. Here’s how I, my comrades, and hopefully you are saving the medical field.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a nightmare to deal with. With it has come to an unprecedented staffing shortage. To meet that demand, travel nurses have stepped up to the plate. Hospitals need nurses. They rely on us to do the menial medical tasks that patients need and doctors don’t have the time to do. I don’t need to tell you that the doctors are borderline useless without us! Sometimes it feels like they wouldn’t know how to wipe their own bums if we weren’t there to wipe the patients. Without nurses, hospitals simply can’t operate. That’s exactly where we come in.
A travel nurse takes on a temporary position at a hospital, traveling between them to fill gaps where the need is greatest. We go from hospital to hospital for a set term at each, and we do what we do best at each and every one. With our help, they can actually run, treating people the way they should. Travel nurses have been around since similar staffing shortages in the 1970s when some southern states needed to borrow nurses from northern states during the winter months. These arrangements were mostly informal then. Today, the industry is thriving with agencies that operate like temp staffing companies.
There are some drawbacks to life, but the benefits far outweigh them. The most obvious benefits are the insane money that you can make and the culture of the work. As you can see here, you can make over $100k per year depending on where you’re working. That kind of money is absolutely unheard of for a standard RN, at least in the jobs I’ve worked. The money is why I first signed on, and it’s why most of us sign up. The medical benefits are, naturally, pretty top-notch as well. Overall, you’re not going to find a better job in our field for a paycheck or other benefits.
One of the advantages that they don’t tell you upfront is the culture of the work. You’ll work alongside other travel nurses, often from the same organization. It’s not uncommon to find yourself working with familiar faces every now and then, and nothing beats the feeling of creating a sort of camaraderie with others in your field. A mentor of mine has likened this to his time in the military. You’re shipped out to somewhere new, you grow in the warzone with people from vastly different backgrounds united by a common cause. You may see them again on another mission, but you’re guaranteed to make new comrades along the way. We’re all in the muck of it together; it’s good to know that we have each other’s back.
Travel nurses are busy. There’s no way around it, they’re much busier than your average stationary nurse. Surprising absolutely nobody, a large part of the job requires extensive traveling, and that can take a toll over a long enough timeline. It can also be stressful, more stressful than the usual work in the field. I don’t need to tell you that being a nurse is hard enough, and can wear down even the most hardened of people. As you can see at https://www.loyalsource.com/travelnursing/travel-nursing-stress-5-ways-to-cope, the life of a travel nurse is exponentially more stressful, and if you’re not made of iron, you should probably think of another career path. If that isn’t a turn-off, though, you may just find a career path that’s right up your alley.