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Myths & Facts of Travel Nursing

While the travel nursing profession has flourished over the last 20 years, there are still many misconceptions about working as a travel nurse. Let’s set the record straight and address some of the most common misperceptions about travel nursing, revealing the facts behind the myths.

MYTH: Travel Nursing is a Less Stable Career Choice

You can take a travel nursing assignment that is only 1-2 hours away from your home and request shifts that will allow you to take 2-3 days off at a time so you can travel back home weekly. For example, there may be an opportunity for you to take three consecutive 12-hour shifts, giving you the flexibility to travel back home for the remainder of the week to be with your family.

Though travel nursing assignments are not permanent full-time positions, they can provide very competitive salaries. Depending on what locations you choose and how carefully you handle your personal finances, a travel nursing assignment can provide a very comfortable income while giving you the opportunity to explore a new city. Plus, many travel nurses are able to receive free housing, travel reimbursement, per diem allowances and bonuses that help supplement their incomes.

Don’t let common myths about travel nursing deter you from an amazing travel experience! Contact the professional talent acquisition specialists at Cross Country Nurses and learn about new opportunities today.

MYTH: Travel Nursing Jobs Are Found Only in Big Cities

Certainly, where the population is more heavy and condensed, we certainly see more opportunity and more needs, however, we get contracts in Montana, Kansas, Idaho, Wyoming — some areas where you wouldn’t even think there would be as great of a need. reflecting a demand for travel nurses not only the big metropolitan cities but also on the outskirts in smaller community hospitals as well.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics supports this travel nursing fact with its location quotient ranking for RN jobs: Leading the list of states with “a higher share of employment than average” are the largely rural states of South Dakota and West Virginia.

FACT: Travel Nursing is a Great Resume Builder

According to industry experts, travel nursing experience actually strengthens a résumé.

“Travel nurses who work in a variety of settings show their flexibility and depth of skill level, something that’s very appealing to nurse managers,” explained Tina Gonzales, director of recruitment for NursesRx. “Also, because travel nursing has been in existence for more than 20 years, time has eliminated any stigma that may have existed in the early years.”

Traveler Ayanna Richardson knows that her broad range of NICU experiences will enhance her résumé in many ways.

“I have worked with a variety of people, diagnoses and equipment,” she said. “Also, dealing with different styles of nursing has made me more flexible to change. I feel that I have the confidence to arrive on any unit and get to work right away.”

Gonzales agrees that this kind of experience and confidence is highly valued by hiring managers.

“Because travelers are typically expected to begin contributing after minimal orientation, nurse managers know that they have the potential to be valuable team players within a short space of time. That is a big plus.”

MYTH: Travel Nursing is For Young Nurses Only

Though many travel nurses are in their 20s and 30s, travel nursing is for nurses of all ages! In fact, travel nursing provides ideal opportunities for nurses in their 50s or 60s who want to travel and earn an income on the road. Also, many older nurses are great fits for travel nursing because they have the experience and background to adapt quickly to new healthcare settings and train younger nurses in their unit.

MYTH: Travel Nurses Aren't Treated as Well as Permanent Staff

While it stands to reason that some permanent staffers may be envious of the perks that travel nurses enjoy—free housing, bonuses, job flexibility—in the vast majority of cases, travelers are welcomed with enthusiasm and gratitude.

Karma Patton, RN, who travels with health care staffing agency NursesRx, says that she has been welcomed with open arms at all of her assignments.

“Most nurses are extremely pleased to see you because they are so short-staffed,” she explained. “To have an experienced RN added to their unit is a big relief for them.”

Ayanna Richardson, RN, has enjoyed similar experiences while on assignment with leading travel nurse company, American Mobile.

“I have worked at three different facilities this year and have been made to feel extremely welcome at each of them,” she said. “Some of the permanent staffers even thanked me for coming to their unit. The bottom line is that by having me there, the staff nurses get a break from working overtime and are able to ‘lighten their loads,’ which they really appreciate.”

NursesRx travel nurse, Christopher Freedman, RN, advises travel nurses to ask as many questions as possible during their interview with a hospital.

“You can usually tell from the interview whether a facility treats its travelers well,” he said. “That’s why I tend to interview the hospital as much as they interview me.”

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