When we find a job that we love and are passionate about, the world likes to believe we aren’t putting into consideration what our income is. Almost like working a job we don’t like is because of money, and working a job we do like is because of our passion. When it comes to our nurses, this concept reaches new peaks. As if being able to help those in need chumps how much income nurses make because they are helping people. It’s an unusual thought process that simply has to go, but what if we could elevate this concept? What if we could do a job we love and make great money? What if there was an option that could help set you up for your future and bring you a whole other level of financial stability?
Travel nursing has become increasingly popular in the past couple of years – due to the pandemic – and had fellow nurses and news outlets discussing the positive impacts they have in the healthcare world. If you are unfamiliar with what a travel nurse is and does, they take on 13-week contracts in various parts of the country. Why do they need them in these areas? It mostly comes down to nursing shortages, a surcharge of people during seasonal periods or other specific situations hospitals need help with. This means, while it may not be a big deal for nurses to go to these areas to work, it is a big deal for those who need their assistance. The benefits of travel nursing are not only travelling to various parts of the country and expanding your skill levels with each assignment but also, the lovely travel nurses’ salary.
Considered an “in-demand position,” travel nurses are naturally paid more than those who work full-time. Nurse.org states, “Under normal circumstances, many travel nurses have the potential to earn over $3,000 per week. Travel nurses can bring in over $50 per hour, plus company-paid housing accommodations and more. Making it entirely possible for travel nurses to make well over $100K per year.” What is the difference between this and RNs? The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the average salary for an RN nurse is $77,600 per year as of May 2021. Making the difference, potentially, a big one.
As another tough year is starting to reach its end, many start thinking about their future and what 2023 will bring them. If a career shift has been on your mind or is in the works, there is no better time than now to put your foot on the gas and go for gold. But first, let’s help you nitpick through all of the hot topic questions to find out the truth about travel nursing and whether travel nursing is an adequate idea for you!
Pros And Cons Of Travel Nursing
Just like in any position, there are pros and cons to the role. When deciding on whether or not you want to make the switch from a full-time position to a travel nurse, you should always put these into consideration.
PRO: Travel Nursing Income
Of course, we must start with the topic that this article is all about, the travel nurse salary! The income you can receive on each assignment is a massive pro in the travel nursing world and with good reason. It is considered that travel nurses are receiving what they deserve in the healthcare world and have the potential to make it long-term. Furthermore, three different factors make up how much money you can make. These are:
Location: You essentially can begin with two choices, rural or big city. Rural areas don’t pay much less than some cities but can also come with incentives and perks that make the decision perfect for some. When it comes to big cities, how much you make can very much depend on where you want to go or where you end up. For instance, you can find high-paying locations like California, New York and Texas but lower-paying states like Florida or Hawaii. This usually comes down to the cost of living, so be prepared to know what areas are going to be more beneficial for you.
Specialty: A specialty in nursing can be seen as a little extra notch on your belt. Essentially, if there is an area of nursing that you would like to dive deeper into – like labor and delivery nursing, ICU nursing or cardiovascular nursing – these specialties will help you make more money in the travel nursing world. If hospitals need a specific specialty nurse, you won’t only be in high demand but you’ll be essential to the hospital’s environment.
Shift: Are you okay with working night shifts? If the answer is yes, then you could see yourself making a pretty penny from working these unusual hours. Night shift workers are also in demand and whenever you’re in demand in the nursing world, you’re likely to be paid more.
CON: You Are The Newbie
Working short-term assignments means one major thing, you are always the newbie on the floor. Your environment will constantly feel unfamiliar and you may feel a little lost by yourself sometimes. At first, this can be a really sobering time and one of the biggest disadvantages of being a travel nurse. You are forced to learn things quickly and adapt to the style of the facility you are working in pronto. However, if you are able to be flexible, take every lesson with strong strides and understand that just like any job, the beginning feelings are only short term, then you will start to flow into your surroundings well.
PRO: Do I Receive a Tax-free Stipend?
Merriam-Webster describes a stipend as a “fixed sum of money paid periodically for services or to defray expenses.” So to answer your question, yes! Your housing, the travel you take to and from your assignments as well as your meals and any unusual incidents that arise are all allotted a tax-free stipend. Although each state allows a varying amount, this benefit can increase your income over the year.
CON: State Licensing
Each state has their own licensing requirements. Can this cause the process of travelling from state to state a little more complicated? Sure. It can be a timely and challenging process and can have some effects on what contracts you can snatch up. However, with so many travel nurses doing this for a living for quite some time, it clearly is something that has been worked out before. For instance, there is a compact state license which includes 37 states and two U.S. territories. With the help of your travel nursing agency, you can have a handle on your licensing situation, you just have to put in some work.
PRO: Travelling As A Travel Nurse
The burning question “is travel nursing worth it?” can be answered alone by the ability you have to travel around the country. You can start in New York and end up in Texas next. Desire something a little more tropical? Try out Hawaii. Seeking something a little more peaceful after all of the big cities, go for a rural area. With each area comes an array of unique sights to see, things to experience, food to eat and people to meet. It’s a real pro about travel nursing and why so many flocks to the opportunity!
While some of us can thrive in alternate situations away from family, some of us can suffer. Our family and friends represent our home, so leaving and entering a new area either around the corner or across the country can be daunting. It is important to know you are not alone in this. The great thing about this style of work is contracts are only 13 weeks long. You can be so busy with work and discovering the area you are in that time ends up flying by. On top of this, you can make friends in your new setting! Uncomfortable situations create growth, so don’t be afraid to grow to the occasion.
PRO: How Do Nurses Deal With Burnout?
They become a travel nurse!
Travel nursing is such a unique position to be in as it can really pull you out of any burnout symptoms you are feeling. Not only is change great, but as a travel nurse you get to stay out of office politics, pick your own schedule and once your contract is up, you could take a break and clear your head. With the last couple of years being overwhelming – to say the least – there is no better time than now to make sure your mental health is strong and motivated for your future!
Is Travel Nursing Still In Demand?
If you were to do some research on travel nursing right now, some conflicting information may arise, especially concerning the travel nurse’s salary. This is due to the circumstances that occurred during the pandemic. In short, nurses were in even higher demand during the pandemic, due to obvious reasons. Some hospitals in certain areas had a MUCH higher influx of patients than others, like New York. This meant that many travel nurses were being paid up to $10,000 a week for their services. Obviously, now that the pandemic has slowed down and nurses aren’t in as high demand as they were throughout the peak, the pay rate is coming back down to what it was before. To verify, travel nurses still make more money when taking on this role. Just maybe not $10,000 a week. If you’d like to find out more, click here.
Is Travel Nursing Sustainable?
It absolutely can be, but you must be willing to be flexible, open-minded, adaptable and sometimes even willing to experiment. Many travel nurses have been working for years in this system. Gaining a contract, either extending their contract or moving on to a new assignment or taking time off between assignments. It’s not unheard of to work for travel nurses to be working for years, but we can’t expect the road to be smooth the whole way.
For example, a travel nurse explains that a hospital he was working in just didn’t work out. While he took a hit from his apartment, he was able to head out to a different hospital and gain the money back with no problem. With the money he had been already saving from his travel nursing jobs, he was able to adjust his plans accordingly. Sometimes when something doesn’t work out, better things are on the way. Optimism will be your best friend throughout the travel nursing process.
Can I Travel Nurse With My Family?
Yes! You can both travel nurse and bring your family along for the ride. There are no rules or regulations against travelling with your families, but there will be a lot of detail to get into. Not because it’s a bad idea, but because when it comes to kids we need that little more organization to make sure they are okay in the process. This organization can also be dependent on if you and your spouse are both travel nursing, what you want your housing situation to be, child care and schooling. You won’t be the first family to take on this route and you certainly won’t be the last. Once you get the first time out of the way, it gets easier and simpler with each assignment. You’re a supermom/dad; you know what we’re talking about!
What If I Have A Pet?
Our companion. The one that keeps us company in even the oddest of times is absolutely allowed to join you on your travelling adventure. Although just like kids, they come with their own checklist of things you need to do too. For instance, your pets need their own documentation; you need to make sure your housing is able to accommodate pets and you need to make sure you have a system set in place for when you’re working those long hours. We have a more in-depth guide on travel nursing with a pet here.
What Are Travel Nursing Agencies?
You can think of them as your go-to guide, your right-hand man and basically the team of people who are going to help you along your journey into the travel nursing world. Travel nursing agencies are staffing agencies that place registered nurses in travel nursing positions across the country. They guide you through the whole process and do their best to get you exactly what you want and need out of your experience.
Here at TheraEx, we do just that and more. We want to make the whole process as smooth sailing as we can. We will guide you from the beginning and support you through the entire hiring process as well as any negotiations. We pride ourselves on forming the most exceptional and professional relationship between recruiter and nurse or physical therapists. We not only know that if you are comfortable and feel open to communicating that we can create a stress-free and enjoyable environment, but we are also a therapist-owned company. We’ve been in your shoes before and could anticipate and answer your questions or concerns. If you would like to read more about our credentialing support, extraordinary benefits and national opportunities, please feel free to click here.
Travel nursing is a position all nurses should try in their lives. It’s a path that involves so much adventure, new experiences and meeting people you never thought you would. The ability to expand your horizons in not only your work life but overall is just such a huge bonus. Especially with everything we’ve been through this past couple of years and wanting to step in 2023 on a new note. With this article, you’ll be able to understand the pros and cons of nursing, the travel nurse salary and know that travel nursing is sustainable. So if you are considering the question “is travel nursing worth it?” your answer now should most definitely be yes. Sign up today!