5 Reasons You Should Be a Travel Nurse

  • No Graduate Degree? No Problem
  • Great Pay
  • Work-Life Balance
  • Travel Opportunities
  • Variety, Variety, Variety

Travel nursing is a fun, lucrative way to use a nursing degree. Travel nurses help hospitals and clinics all over the country fill critical staffing shortages. This could mean responding to a natural disaster, providing patient care during a strike or filling in after a spike in retiring nurses. Because this nursing field is so well-compensated, it’s a great way to pay off student loan debt or save up for a house for people who can take the constant relocating.

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1. No Graduate Degree? No Problem.

Some of the most lucrative nursing specialties, like nurse anesthetists (CRNAs), nurse-midwives (CNMs) and other advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), require long hours of additional education. These experts complete a master of science in nursing (MSN) or even a doctorate degree before they start earning big bucks. That means fewer years of nursing before retirement and a heavy student loan burden to repay. Travel nurses only need a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), and some agencies even recruit registered nurses with an associate degree. Of course, students should choose the nursing degrees that line up with their clinical passions, but that doesn’t mean graduate school is required.

2. Great Pay

Travel nurses make good money. According to Nurse.org, it’s easy for travel nurses to pull in six figures and get their housing paid for. Working as a traveling nurse is especially lucrative for new nurses with limited experience; that’s because the pay is often based on willingness to relocate and work specific shifts rather than experience levels. Nurses who are able to travel with very little notice can expect the best hourly pay, especially if they’re willing to work overtime.

3. Work-Life Balance

Nursing schedules can be brutal. 12-hour shifts, mandatory overtime and nighttime work all lead to emotional burnout and physical breakdown. Travel nurses set their own schedule and can prioritize recovery time over the next contract. Many traveling nurses live an adventurous lifestyle with plenty of time set aside for skiing, camping or traveling the world. Others work long hours during the school year and take all of the summer breaks off.

4. Travel Opportunities

Who wouldn’t want a working vacation in Vermont for the fall and Hawaii for the winter? Or what about Alaska in the summer and Florida in the colder months? Travel nurses get to see the country. History buffs can head to New England, hikers can bounce between the Rockies and the Appalachian Mountains and sun lovers can chase rays year-round. Staffing agencies are happy to work with nurses to provide an enjoyable travel experience alongside high pay and challenging work. For less-desirable destinations, there’s often bonus pay available, so nurses can choose between maximizing beach time and bank accounts.

5. Variety, Variety, Variety

For nurses who crave fast-paced work environments, constantly changing requirements and diverse patient populations, there’s no better option than travel nursing. Summer might mean three months in the emergency room of a level one trauma center followed by two months at post-surgery rehabilitation clinic. For nurses who have just graduated, traveling is a great way to try out different roles before making a full-time commitment.

It’s important to know the requirements for working as a travel nurse before deciding on this career path. Travel nursing usually requires an undergraduate nursing degree, flexibility, and top-notch clinical skills.