While travel nursing may not be the right fit for every nurse all the time, it can be a great option for many nurses at different times in their career.
Here are a few RNnetwork travel nurses who pursued travel nursing at different stages in their career and the reasons it worked for them.
Travel nursing early in your career can help broaden your experience and expose you to different practice settings. Traveling affords you the opportunity to work with many different people, approaches and places, and can help you define or refine your long-term nursing career goals.
For Amber Haley, travel nursing was a great way to expand her skills in critical care and gain exposure beyond the small rural hospital where she was working.
“Travel nursing has allowed me to learn from nurses from different parts of the United States. I’ve gained knowledge in multiple specialty units, from neurotrauma to cardiothoracic surgery,” says Amber.
For many nurses, early career is a time of greater flexibility and can be an excellent time to enjoy the adventure of discovering different parts of the country, while gaining valuable skills and earning for the future.
For more seasoned nurses, traveling can be a welcome change of scenery to help you break out of the daily grind and avoid career fatigue and burnout.
Travel at this nursing career stage can also be a great way to hone your nursing path and help you achieve your long-term career goals.
“Labor and delivery is hard to get into,” says Rachel. “Thankfully, my manager at my last travel assignment was really great. She understood I had goals I wanted to pursue, and introduced me to the manager of the labor and delivery unit where I work now. If it wasn’t for my travel assignment with that hospital and manager, I wouldn’t be in this spot today. I don’t know that I would have gotten to where I wanted to be — when I wanted to be here — without the connections I made through travel nursing.”
Veteran nurse Fran Shew looked to travel nursing as a way to stay engaged with a career she loves, while still enjoying the flexibility to visit her adult children and grandchildren around the country.
Shew is deliberate about scheduling visits with her grandchildren between assignments and recently took extended time off before accepting a new contract in order to help with the birth of a new grandchild.
“One of my concerns is that I would miss my grandkids,” says Shew. “The flexibility travel nursing affords means I can travel to see my kids and grandkids and spend that precious time with them.”
Shew admits, though, she’s not your “average stay-at-home Grandma” — and she loves travel nursing for the ease of experiencing new places. As she anticipates retirement in the next few years, she still has plenty to see and do on her travel nurse bucket list.
“I look forward to slowing down a bit, but there are still so many areas I would love to explore,” says Shew. “I’d still love to get to the Northeast, Napa Valley, and Hawaii. As long as I have areas left to explore, I figure I’m being paid to do these things and that’s a great way to have these adventures.”
Travel nursing and flexibility are nearly synonymous terms. Many nurses take advantage of the benefits of travel nursing during times of transition — whether relocating, filling a gap between permanent positions, or trying out new facilities or practice settings without the pressure of a long-term commitment.
Veronica Asimolowo credits travel nursing for giving her and her family important flexibility during their times of transition. Her spouse’s career in the military often requires relocation, so Asimolowo leverages travel nursing as a way to maintain continuity in a career she loves, while also enjoying the flexibility to move with her family.
“When our family first moved to Indiana, it was difficult to find a full-time position, since I didn’t know how long I would be here,” says Asimolowo. “I started looking into travel nursing and soon received so many calls it was easy to find a position. And because I have a great recruiter, I’ve never had any trouble finding my next assignment. It works so well for our family, because if my husband moves, I can go with him. We have two children, and I don’t have any family around, so it’s helpful to move together — that way, we have each other to be here with the kids.”
Interested in travel at your nursing career stage?
Whether at your present nursing career stage, or a new stage you’re anticipating in the future, travel nursing can be a great fit at any stage in your career.