When one hears the word “nurse”, a conventional picture comes to mind: a uniformed woman, greeting you with a smile, ready to help. What most people seem to forget are travel nurses, who are as much of a hero as their counterparts.
Have you ever heard of a travel nurse? Do you know how they differ from a regular nurse? Let’s learn about these underrepresented champions regarding their work-life, prospects and offer some nuggets of advice!
What is it like being a traveling nurse?
Unlike other nurses, the work of traveling nurses involves moving to often remote places where there is a shortage of nurses to accommodate and care for people in need. They curate their work schedule and even pick their job locations. They can even travel across the world for the sake of their work.
Traveling nurses enjoy several perks such as seeing and exploring new places, being introduced to new cultures, and meeting diverse people. Moreover, they also enjoy other aspects of their work such as a relatively higher salary and even free accommodation.
In regard to salary, travel nurses have the ability to earn over $100,000 USD in a year. For reference, the median salary in the United States is a little over $34,000 USD. Additionally, the salaries of traveling nurses have increased due to the pandemic, with population-dense states such as New York further incentivizing travel nurses by offering $10,000 per week. The prospects of the position are quite lucrative, with the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting that the growth for travel nurse jobs will see an increase of 19% by 2022.
Travel nurses can also reap the benefits of bonuses to add on top of their overall pay. In this sense, they are paid lump sums of money from third parties such as hospitals and agencies. Bonuses can also be awarded by agencies for increased retention if a travel nurse works with them for a certain number of assignments. These bonuses can be quite generous and range up to $4000 USD. Moreover, travel nurses can also avail themselves of referral bonuses, they may receive bonuses from agencies when they refer other nurses.
Daily routines and basics of being a travel nurse
The job of a travel nurse is not much different from that of a regular nurse. Generally, their jobs involve evaluating patients, guiding them to the route of better health, researching, and cooperating with colleagues to deliver the best possible services.
A notable aspect of being a travel nurse is handling unfamiliarity. As they travel from hospital to hospital, they have to be very adaptable and learn the norms of an already established workplace in a very short period of time.
Apart from being flexible, travel nurses are required to be professional, punctual and reliable. They should also be able to adapt to constantly changing environments. It is necessary that they learn quickly and be able to become a seamless part of their environment. Being a team player and learning to work well with different types of people is also a major component to be successful in this type of role.
Things Travel Nurses Should Know
Although travel nurses receive a ton of benefits, it is not always rainbows and sunshine. Due to the pandemic, a large portion of the healthcare system has relied even more heavily on travel nurses to take up the slack for doctors and nurses that have been facing exhaustion.
Stress in the Workplace is an unfortunate reality for travel nurses as they are usually traveling to places with a lack of healthcare professionals and an already exhausted system. To flourish in such conditions, travel nurses should be mentally prepared to deal with mayhem in their workplaces.
Research Destinations. To avoid any last-minute nasty surprises, it is advised for travel nurses to fully research their destination before travel. Although it may seem like a no-brainer, it is crucial to check aspects like temperature, weather and costs of living in order to prepare properly.
Don’t Overpack. To have to move tons of luggage across the airport floor and then to go to work afterwards is nothing but a recipe for disaster. It is advised to pack with a minimalistic yet realistic mindset.
Consult an experienced nurse. One of the best ways to gain a real insight about this type of work is to consult a nurse who has gone through everything you will go through. They will be more than happy to mentor you and are generally willing to share bits of wisdom to make your life in this profession easier.
Travel nurses are an integral part of the backbone of the healthcare system. Combatting a raging pandemic and working alongside front-line workers is something worthy to be applauded for. Although the work poses its unique challenges, these tips can give you a head start in the right direction.