Perhaps one of the most important but unappreciated professions out there is nursing.  While there are many schools and organizations that educate people on how to get a license and practice, we still don’t recognize their critical role in our society.  They deal with a lot that doctors don’t have to.

The state of this field right now looks pretty grim.  There’s a shortage and many of the current professionals are feeling fatigued with all the chaos going on in the world.  Seeing so many patients pass away due to COVID-19 would be draining for anyone.

Perhaps this is why so many of them are looking for ways to increase their job satisfaction without giving up what they love.  For more general information about what this field entails, check out this page: https://www.nursingworld.org/practice-policy/workforce/what-is-nursing/.  However, if you want to learn about some alternative styles of practice, be sure to stick around.

What is a traveling nurse?

I know, the answer to this might sound pretty obvious in a lot of ways.  It’s a nurse who travels, right?  Well, yes, but there is a lot more complexity involved here as well of course.

This job position came to fruition back in the 1970s, though medical professionals who moved often weren’t new to this decade – they’ve been a thing for most of human history.  However, it started in this context in response to migratory patterns for those needing health care.

Many choose to vacate the northern states in the winter to flee the snow, so they end up in the south.  Unfortunately, this can lead to shortages of health care workers in this region.  That is where the topic of today comes into play.

Generally speaking, they work with a staffing agency that advocates for them and places them at hospitals or other facilities across the nation experiencing a staffing shortage.  Said agencies usually take a cut of what is paid, but in return, they try to locate secure housing and other benefits for the nurses.

traveling nurse

What’s the Culture Like?

Before we make a commitment to anything, most of us like to know a little bit about what we’re getting into.  When it comes to the travel nurse lifestyle, what does it entail?  My worry was, at first, that it would feel like too much pressure, or that I was moving around too often to properly settle in anywhere.

I would say the most important thing to keep in mind is that to reap the benefits of this sort of position, you should have an adventurous spirit at least to some extent.  You will be relocating on the semi-regular if not more often than that, so if that does not appeal to you at all, it probably isn’t the sort of thing you should look for.

However, if that intrigues you or sounds exciting, it might be a good fit!  Here are some other key parts of the culture you may want to know.  For one thing, a surprising number of studies have shown that nurses who travel experience higher levels of job satisfaction.  There is speculation on why this is – perhaps treating more patients who are in need or just enjoying the change in scenery – we still aren’t sure precisely why.  I mostly mention this because the levels of job satisfaction in this field generally speaking are quite low right now.  It’s truly a shame, and I encourage you to look at a resource like this one for more details.

Contracted Employee

When you decide to become one, essentially you become something akin to a contracted employee.  You sign a said contract, and their length of time often varies significantly depending on the station.  Once it ends, you get to decide whether you will stay at that location or move on to another assignment.

So, as you can see, there is a nice amount of flexibility when you do something like this.  If you’re wondering what else might make it worth it, there is plenty, thankfully.  More and more people and institutions are looking to reward nurses for their dedication to human wellness and health (as they should).

Some of these include guidance on a travel visa or passport when applicable.  There are indeed plenty of international opportunities if that’s something that you are keen on!  Additionally, you get to pick the locations you go to, get bonuses along the way, and enjoy free housing in most cases.

Obviously, there will be trials and tribulations along the way.  That is, unfortunately, the nature of nursing.  However, if there are ways that we can mitigate that and improve our own quality of life, it will in turn result in our patients receiving better care as well.  Truly, it’s a win-win scenario, so if you are looking for a change of pace and might be interested, I suggest you start researching!

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