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Everything you need to know about travel nursing.

Why travel nursing

The pros and cons of travel nursing

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While there are many pluses to being a travel nurse — great pay, flexible schedule, and opportunity to travel — you may also encounter some challenges, too. Hear from some RNnetwork travel nurses who share their experiences with both the pros and cons of travel nursing.

Pro: You’re in charge of your schedule

list of pros of travel nursing

Travel nursing is a great way to keep life and work exciting — on your terms. For labor and delivery nurse Veronica Asimolowo, travel nursing is an excellent complement to her spouse’s often-moving job in the Army. She can match assignments to where his work sends him. Travel nurse Debbie Hunt, an OR nurse, likes to stick close to home. “I have the flexibility to have time off between assignments so that I can go home and check on my house and be with my friends,” says Debbie.

For dialysis nurse Katie Elliott, traveling became a way to find a better work/life balance in her specialty. “When I found out about travel nursing, I looked into it. There was a lot that appealed to me, that gave me more control over what I work and how I work.”

Pro: Travel to exciting new places

Quote by travel nurse Brittany Monteiro

Whether you dream of tropical beaches, world-class metropolitan locations, or somewhere further off the more touristy path, you have plenty of options.  “I had only been a nurse for a little over two years, and I wanted to get different experiences in different places and see how nursing was in other places,” explains telemetry nurse Brittany Monteiro, who has since traveled to Lynchburg, VA, and Greenville, NC.

Home health nurse Michelle Cooper started travel nursing up the coast of Florida to Georgia in her RV. While she’s loved seeing different places and working in various clinics, she also values getting a break from the local weather. “It’s so warm in Florida. I think that’s one of the reasons I wanted to go up north, to get out of the heat and to see a different state,” she explains.

Pro: Try different locations

If you’re considering moving to a new place, there’s no better way to scope different areas than by traveling for work. That’s true for PCU/step-down nurse Sara Cox. “Getting to do a trial and error with all of these different locations, it’s nice because you get to see what feels like home,” she says. “And you get a small taste of an area before you make a big commitment. It’s nice to get used to a location. You get to meet people you didn’t think you would meet otherwise. It’s always an adventure; it’s always exciting.”

Pro: Make great money

quote by travel nurse Scott Carpenter

Travel nurses can make as much or more as traditional nurses. Housing stipends, per diems, and other agency benefits offer unique savings for travel nurses. “For those thinking about traveling, I recommend it, especially these young nurses just out of nursing school. Once they get their experience, it’s a great opportunity for them to see the country, to make great money,” says telemetry nurse Scott Carpenter. “My salary doubled when I started travel nursing. I’m able to get my bills paid off. If I want to vacation somewhere, I now have the resources to do that.”

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list of cons of travel nursing

Cons: Adjusting to independent work

A key difference between working in a permanent position versus traveling is always being new to an established team. However, as med/surg nurse Chris Hegglund sees it, being a travel nurse has a specific magnetic mystique. As a travel nurse, you’re held in a higher regard. Nurses and patients want to know what brought you here, so it’s an instant connection with people,” says Chris. Plus, if you’ve worked in even just a few different hospitals, you’ve got experiences that will have people eager to ask you questions.

Cons: Time away from family

At first glance, life as a travel nurse can seem like the opposite of a sensible job for any caretaker. However, for some nurses, traveling is a way to make more time for family. For home health nurse Michelle Cooper, traveling helps bridge the gap between her and her parents, who live in Florida and can’t travel much.

Sara Cox has used traveling as an opportunity to stay with her older brother and her young nephew. “I haven’t gotten to live in the same house as him for 15-plus years, and I got to help out with my nephew, who’s five. Getting to come home and seeing both of them every day was absolutely amazing,” she explains.

Amy Eveland, a med/surg nurse, can work just three days a week to spend more time with her kids.  “Even with traveling, I am home more than before. I get to spend quality time with my kid,” says Amy.

Cons: Finding a travel agency that works for you

It’s important to find an agency that sees you as a person and not just as a way to make money, so you’ll want an agent who fits, too.

But once you find a good one, it’s easy to stick with them. Wendy Davis has stayed with her RNnetwork recruiter since 2013. “I wouldn’t have dared move companies and especially recruiters. If she had quit and gone to another company, I would have followed her,” she explains.

That kind of recruiter comes in handy in a life emergency — like when travel nurse Kathleen Johnson needed to get care for her emergently ill brother. RNnetwork helped facilitate a contract and safe housing that helped Kathleen work and care for her immunocompromised brother. That recruiter’s extra effort ended up saving his life.

Interested in learning more about travel nursing? Give us a call at 800.866.0407 or view today’s travel nursing jobs.

About the author

Erin Moore

Erin Moore is a freelance writer from Salt Lake City, Utah. She has a passion for learning new things and sharing with others and in her free time she enjoys vegetarian cooking, foraging in the Uintas and practicing yoga.


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