We’ve all heard our share of myths and old wives’ tales passed off as truth over the years. Many are flimsy and most fall apart like wet paper under scrutiny. For example, we know that in spite of the myths there are no alligators in New York’s sewers, starving a fever only weakens your body, and swallowed gum only stays in your GI system for a week or more. Nothing too mind-blowing when you think about it.
And while we’re poking holes in pesky myths, there are quite a few about working as a travel nurse. In fact, here are some common myths that scare RNs away from otherwise amazing travel nurse jobs.
Travel Nursing Offers Unreliable Work and Pay. We assume this myth comes from the fact that some travel nurse jobs can be relatively short. Not too many people could support themselves on 13 weeks of work a year.
Thankfully, there are boundless travel nurse opportunities. Talent shortages and strict state mandates about RN to patient ratio are all too common. When a local nursing surplus diminishes opportunities and makes the market super competitive, travel nurses can go elsewhere and avoid employment gaps.
And they get paid well for it too. Travel nurse jobs are more likely to have higher bill rates, sometimes higher than a nurse on staff permanently. That tends to be for two reasons: healthcare facilities in need of critical care want to make the position attractive and they can bare a higher rate if it’s for a shorter period of time.
Travel Nursing Is Strictly for the Young. Many nurses will argue that the traveling game is for 20 somethings without their roots planted. They cite spouses, kids, and mortgages as making an itinerate lifestyle all but impossible. Yet that’s only one of the reasons anyone follows the path of travel nursing.
Sure, there are numbers of 20-something travel nurses who want adventures and the chance to see all the country has to offer. Yet a travel nurse can easily be an ICU nurse with a spouse who is retired or works remotely or a single mother CRNA working in a new city for the summer to give her kids a one-of-a-kind vacation. Some nurses even work with travel nursing recruiters to better find short-term contracts in their local area, never needing to move at all. Really, there’s no limit to the options.
Travel Nursing Is a Lonely Lifestyle. Some people must view travel nurses as solitary drifters, traveling and living alone like Clint Eastwood in all those spaghetti westerns. That’s untrue too. You can bring your spouse, your kids, and even your pet along with you on your journey. All that matters is that you take the necessary steps in advance.
Any travel partner (be it human or animal) you intend to bring with you should be mentioned to your recruiter in advance. That way, he or she can find you accommodations that fit your needs (whether it’s a rental home with few extra bedrooms or a pet-friendly condo).
Permanent Staff Never Likes Travel Nurses. This myth about travel nursing feeds more on fear of unknown than anything else. A pernicious little voice in your head warns you that you won’t make any friends and you’ll be seen as an outsider (sounds a lot like a teenager unwilling to transfer schools across country). The truth is that a travel nurse can offer a much needed moment of respite.
In most cases, the types of healthcare facilities that travel nurses enter are in dire need of another professional in scrubs around to help handle the surplus of patients. Though there’s a chance you’ll clash with your new coworkers, it’s no different than any permanent nursing job. Since you’re helping to cover the slack, it’s a safe bet that you’ll have more people who are happy about your presence.
Travel Nurse Assignments Are Bad for Your Resume. In the traditional work world, jumping around between positions might give the appearance of flightiness and a bad work ethic. But that’s not the case with travel nurse jobs.
A travel nurse has proof that he or she is a highly adaptable person, being able to acclimate to different environments, philosophies, and nursing methods all in a short time. Most employers covet that level of flexibility whenever they go in search of new nurses to bring onto their staff.
If you want to learn more about what it’s like to be a travel nurse and get started down the right path, register with us today. We can help you sort out the fact from the fiction.