UNITED STATES—Travel nurses are nurses coming from different clinical backgrounds that work for independent staffing agencies. Such nurses are usually assigned temporarily by the staffing agencies to various care areas depending upon the requirement. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of travel nursing.

1) Pro: You get to travel

If you like traveling, being a travel nurse allows you to travel around the country and occasionally to other countries. Being a travel nurse lets you live in a certain destination for some time compared to traveling through the area as a tourist. You can visit many different tourist attractions during your career, a benefit many people working in other occupations may not be able to enjoy. If you are a nurse and like traveling, check out some great California travel nursing jobs for your next nursing assignment.

2) Pro: You can potentially make more money in travel nursing

Generally speaking, travel nurses make more money than staff nurses. There are two reasons for this:

 – Higher demand = higher income. Travel nurse agencies work with clinics, hospitals, or other healthcare facilities that usually have a high demand for nursing staff. As a result, they may pay more for travel nurses to meet that demand.

 – Additional monetary incentives. Travel nurses get paid a “total pay package,” unlike regular staff nurses. This includes additional monetary incentives on top of an hourly base wage pay. Some incentives are travel reimbursements, sign-on or referral bonuses, stipends for food, mileage, housing, and other job-related expenses. Since these stipends are considered to be reimbursements and not income, they happen to be non-taxable. As a result, travel nurses usually bring home more money than staff nurses who need to pay taxes on all their income.

3) Pro: Broaden your work experience

Travel nurses get to work in many different clinics and hospitals. Each one has different procedures, equipment, processes, challenges, and goals. Consequently, working as a travel nurse allows you to broaden your work experience. In fact, now is the best time to train as a nurse, and taking up a career as a travel nurse will help in the long-term development of your career because of your broad work experience.

4) Con: Travel nurses move around a lot

Travel nursing may seem attractive if you like traveling, but remember that you’ll be essentially living on the road. Consequently, you’ll need to pack a lot more than you’d usually pack for a vacation. What’s more, your stay in a particular location will be limited to the length of your contract. It could be six months, three months, one month, or even less. If you like a particular location, you may not always be able to extend your contract more than the original duration. 

5) Con: Travel nurses may have to carry out job hunts frequently

A typical contract for a travel nurse is for three months. On occasion, you may be able to extend that contract by another three months. In many cases, you may need to put in a lot of effort and time to conduct a job search for your next contract. Whenever you get a new contract, you’ll have to interview for the positions and negotiate contract terms and your pay. All this can be pretty stressful at times.

6) Con: Travel nurses may suffer from homesickness and loneliness

Working as a travel nurse is different from taking a vacation. You actually have to move to a different location to work. Typical travel nursing contracts are three months or six months. As a result of moving to a new location each time, you’ll need to make new friends and acquaintances. One of the major cons of travel nursing is homesickness and feelings of loneliness. In such a scenario, you must take care of your mental health while working as a travel nurse. After all, poor mental health may not only lead to harmful consequences for you; it may also affect your ability to provide quality care to your patients.