The demand for nurses growing – the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics projects that employment opportunities for nurses will grow by 15% through 2026; that’s more than 400,000 new nursing jobs. Growing parallel to that demand is the need for travel nurses. Hospitals and facilities across the country are hiring more and more travel nurses to help address staffing shortages and meet their needs for skilled nurses.
This bright job outlook may have you considering travel nursing as a career path to increase your skills, move to new cities and experience new assignments. However, you may be hesitant to make the leap into travel nursing because you have concerns about some of the myths surrounding this profession. Below are three of the most common travel nursing myths debunked to help you decide if this career is right for you:
- Myth: Moving from assignment to assignment looks bad on a resume
The opposite is true. Travel nursing strengthens your resume.
Employers recognize that travel nursing positions are temporary and that having multiple assignments on your resume does not mean you are job hopping. In fact, employers look at these assignments as an indicator that you can successfully adapt to new work situations and new people.
Travel nurses have the opportunity to work at different types of facilities and to provide different levels of patient care. These opportunities can help you build a strong resume by honing skills and gaining experience working with a variety of people, diagnoses and technology. All of which can showcase you as a highly successful candidate with a track record of flexibility and the confidence to quickly adapt to working in any unit.
- Myth: Travel nurses aren’t eligible for benefits
This is an easy myth to debunk. The benefits packages offered to travel nurses today make it more attractive than ever for nurses who want to explore different places, experience different work environments and interact with different people.
Employment benefits offered to travel nurses are similar to those of permanent nursing jobs. Many travel nursing staffing agencies offer medical, dental and vision coverage, as well as other benefits like a 401k and other retirement plans. Travel nurse benefits packages also include perks like travel expenses, free housing, continuing education, and bonus programs.
It is important to note that benefits packages vary from staffing agency to staffing agency, so it is a good idea to do some research to find the company that offers the package that best fits you.
- Myth: Travel nurses don’t have control over assignments
Not true. You have complete control over what assignments you take.
That’s one of the major benefits of being a travel nurse. You can discuss your assignment preferences with your staffing agency, and your recruiter will find and present you with available job options in your preferred locations. From there, you can accept or pass on an assignment, making a decision that best suits your preferences and goals.
Travel nursing jobs are available in locations throughout the country from large cities to small cities to rural areas. The demand for travel nurses across the country means that it is likely there will be an opportunity available in at least one of your preferred locations. Your first-choice location may not be available right away, but you should keep it on your list of preferred assignments because it probably will be in the future.
Being a travel nurse does not mean you necessarily have to go far from home. Control over where you work means that you can take a local assignment if that is your preference. However, keep in mind that the only way you are eligible for non-taxed reimbursement is if you are duplicating expenses and maintaining a permanent residence.
Travel nursing can be an exciting adventure and great career path, providing resume building experiences, excellent benefits and autonomy over where and when you work. If you have questions about travel nursing and the range of job opportunities in this field, consider talking to a staffing agency to help determine if this is the right career for you.
About the Author
Steve Lockwood is president of travel healthcare at Loyal Source, a staffing agency that places thousands of healthcare professionals around the U.S. Lockwood has over 24 years of experience placing travel nurses and allied professionals in healthcare environments including hospitals, clinics, long-term care, correctional and government facilities.