6 Misconceptions About Travel Nursing

Wanderly - 09/10/19

"You'll never be able to have a family as a travel nurse."

"I'm too old to work as a travel nurse." 

"You'll drown in student loan debt if you become a travel nurse."

There are many myths and misconceptions that revolve around the world of travel nursing, many of which have started from travel nurses themselves! But it’s a world where you’re constantly learning, growing, and having to be flexible with the process that is often a sensitive transition. It isn't a process that you want to repeat every 3 months or so if you didn't have a passion and work ethic for your patients. At the same time, it’s one of the most rewarding career choices you could make.

If you’re new to travel nursing or are considering it, you probably have questions lingering in the back of your head. So we wanted to debunk a few of the common misconceptions about being a travel nurse to help you make an informed decision.

Let’s get started:

1. Travel Nursing Job Don't Look Good on Resumes

Working at a Magnet hospital as a travel nurse can boost your career. Magnet recognition is the highest credential that a healthcare organization can receive. When a healthcare facility earns magnet recognition, it means that they have have been given the gold standard from the ANCC in terms of patient care and quality nursing.

When you accept a contract at a Magnet recognized facility, you are becoming an active member of an environment that is known for its leadership, quality of nursing care and evidence best practices as well as its focus on professional development. You will have the opportunity to work amongst the brightest minds in the healthcare industry while playing an active role in nursing excellence and developing your skills. 

2. Travel Nurses Aren’t Treated as Well as Staff Nurses

Generally, there’s no reason for travel nurses to be treated poorly by staff nurses. One of the main reasons for a travel nurse to come on board is because a hospital is short-staffed and they need extra help. This keeps the ratio down and helps everybody out at the end of the day. If you remain optimistic, learn quickly, and help where you’re needed, it’ll go a long way. Most of the time, travelers find some of their closest friends during an assignment and find it difficult to part ways at the end.

3. The Income of a Travel Nurse isn’t Steady

On the contrary, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Travel nurse pay is higher because of economics and tax-free stipends.  Travel nurse pay is one of the biggest reasons why staff nurses become travel nurses every single day. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the BLS, Registered Nurses made an average of $70,000 per year. It’s well documented that travel nurse pay is over $90,000 per year and sometimes $100,000 per year. You can read more about Travel Nurse Pay here and the 12 Highest Paying Travel Nursing Cities here.

4. Travel Contracts are Only 13 Weeks Long

While a standard contract is typically 13 weeks long, the length can often times vary depending on a few things. Some contracts can be as short as four weeks, and some can be extended by request. Sometimes, it can go by so fast when you really enjoying where you’re at. Falling in love with the location, hospital, and the people can change our view on the location. If you find that you’d like to extend your contract, it’s pretty common. It’s also common to be asked about an extension without even asking for one. The important thing is to speak with your manager about your interest to extend before it’s too late. This way, your recruiter can set up a new contract for you. The earlier you decide to extend, the better. If you really love where you’re at, let your manager know. 

5. Travel Nursing is For Younger Nurses

While it is common that young nurses choose to take the route of travel nursing, it’s not just for them. Maybe the kids have left the nest and it’s time for some travel again. Or you’d like to travel with your spouse that has the flexibility, or even a friend. You can take one assignment and then take time off. The ease of travel nursing can sometimes be just what you need at a later stage in life. Not to mention, your housing will be taken care of, and you should have no problem traveling with children, if that’s the case too.

6. Travel Nurses Have to Float

While it might be possible to have to be prepared to float, this is not the case for all assignments. The benefit of floating is that there may be more opportunities, but it’s not mandatory. The subject of floating should be communicated with a recruiter during the interview process. Maybe it’s a case-by-case evaluation on what type of assignment you’re going for, and if it’d guarantee you more hours to float. Otherwise, state that this is not something you want at the time. 

Are you currently a travel nurse or thinking about becoming one? What are some of the myths about travel nursing that you have heard before?  Feel free to comment below and then click here to learn more about How You Can Have a Happy Career as a Travel Nurse.