The nursing career field will be the unquestioned leader in job creation during the next decade. With the largest segment of the American population, the Baby Boomer generation, reaching old age the healthcare system is facing a tremendous strain on resources. The strain is not only tough of resources such as hospital space, medications, and treatment, but also on service providers. Positions for registered nurses are expected to grow the most, according the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, with an estimated 587,000 new nurses needed by 2018. One of the more fascinating positions available are travel nurse jobs.
A travel nurse job is exactly what it sounds like. Qualified nurses travel from place to place to fill positions on a temporary basis. Travel nurses fill needed positions in a variety of settings including:
- Physicians’ offices
- Home health care
- Nursing care facilities
- Employment agencies
There are many reasons why nursing positions open up on a temporary or part time basis. Many of the typical reasons that travel nurse jobs open up include but are not limited to the following:
- Need for extra staff during busy seasons or peak times
- Fill in for nurses on maternity leave
- Fill in for nurses absent due to illness
The length of travel nurse jobs can vary from just a few days to several months. Travel nurses can be booked for as long as the hospital or clinic needs them, or as long as the travel nurse has an opening in their schedule to work. The typical travel nurse job lasts 13 weeks.
The unique role of travel nurse jobs brings with it some advantages and disadvantages over traditional full time nursing employment. Among the advantages and disadvantages are the following:
- Chance to experience a variety of work settings and locations
- Chance to travel around for those not bound by family obligations at home
- Freedom to work as much, or as little as you want
- Control over the number of assignments you book
- Chance for new graduates to decide where they want to work long-term
- Not as recession-proof as permanent nursing positions
- Less opportunity to become established in one location and seek advancement
- Harder for those with family obligations to pick up and move constantly
Another big difference between permanent nursing positions and a travel nurse job is the design of compensation. While many travel nurse jobs pay just as well or better than permanent nursing positions, the structure in which these nurses receive pay can vary based upon employer. While permanent nurses are paid a salary with benefits, many travel nurse jobs pay by the day or by the hour and though their rates may be higher, they have to pay for their own benefits out of that higher salary.
Finding employment as a travel nurse is different than most permanent nurse jobs as well. Travel nurse jobs are often found through nursing placement agencies. These groups work with hospitals, clinics, and other nursing agencies to fill openings when needed. The best way to find travel nurse jobs is to work with several agencies to increase the chances of landing an assignment. Each placement agency represents different assignments, locations, and employers, so it’s best to work with several in order to access the most open positions.