One of the most frequent questions we get at Elite Speciality Staffing is whether or not one can work travel nursing close to home. You may be surprised to learn that you can, in fact, take on a local travel nursing assignment, but the number of benefits and pay may be less than if you were working on an assignment further away from home.

We’re going to review the main considerations about working as a local travel nurse, and also the pros and cons of travel nursing close to home.

If you want to become a travel nurse, but are still a little bit hesitant about traveling so far away from home to take on a contract nursing assignment in another state, or perhaps you have many obligations to your home and you’re not able to travel too far away for an extended period of time, you might want to consider choosing a travel nursing assignment that’s not too far away. First thing you need to understand is, how close, is too close?

Breaking the Myth about the 50-Mile Radius

You may have heard that you must live outside of a 50-, 60-, or 100-mile radius in order to receive benefits of travel nursing on a travel nursing assignment at a local hospital. While this assumption is partially true, there’s also a big myth that the IRS has some sort of “50-mile radius rule” that describes the distance you have to be away from a travel nursing assignment to work it. This is simply not true.

However, many hospitals and facilities have their own specific mile radius rule in place that is used as a general thumb in order to prevent staff nurses from picking up travel contracts to their own facility that typically ranges between a 40 and 200 miles distance from the facility. That being said, every assignment is unique and each hospital has its own specific requirements. If you’re interested in a travel nursing contract close to home, be sure you talk with an experienced travel nursing recruiter, to find out the specific details of the assignment close to you and how far away you must live in order to get the full benefits package. Check out our earlier blog post for more travel nursing advice on how to choose a travel nursing recruiter.

Travel Nursing Close to Home Tax Deduction Considerations

So yes! You can be a travel nurse without spending a small fortune on flights or traveling across the country for a travel nursing assignment. You are still entitled to tax-free housing stipends (as long as you are within the correct mile radius for that facility), and other benefits when you work a local travel nursing contract.

While you may be able to get the benefits of travel nursing at a location nearby, understand that the IRS does have laws in place that require you to maintain a temporary residence in order to qualify for the tax-free housing supplements. For more specific information on tax stipends, we advise you to consult a tax professional in your area who can advise you on the specific laws in your state regarding local nursing contracts.

Pros to Travel Nursing Close to Home

  • Lower out-of-pocket expenses
  • You can possibly even keep your day job and make a ton of money on the side
  • No worries about furnishing a place or a bunch of luggage and packing
  • A short drive still brings you home
  • Because you’re more familiar with the area, you will have an easier time finding the right hotel or apartment
  • You won’t have to miss out on a family function unless you want to, of course, you will still have a legit excuse!
  • Fewer feelings of homesickness
  • There’s security in having your friends and family nearby

Cons to Travel Nursing Close to Home

  • You don’t get to see new places across the country
  • Your options for travel nursing contracts will be drastically narrowed
  • You won’t experience unique and different patient populations
  • All in all, you’re working a job with a longer commute and maintaining two living locations
  • You still have to set up housing arrangements
  • You won’t experience the stereotypical life of a travel nurse

Stay Flexible for More Travel Nursing Assignment Opportunities

Depending on the region in the United States you live, you might not be able to find ample opportunities for travel nursing jobs in your specialty. Also, it may take some time for one to become available. Furthermore, when these positions do become available, you might not have as much choice about the schedule or accommodations as you would in a location or facility with more needs. Another option you can explore is picking up per diem nursing jobs locally, while you wait on the right travel nursing contract close to home to open up.

If you decide to travel further away from home, you will leave yourself open to a wider variety of travel nursing jobs and more adventure to boot! If you want to make special requests about your scheduling or accommodations, be sure to bring this up to your travel nurse recruiter during the interview stage.

Keep Your Mind Open to the Vast World of Opportunities as a Travel Nurse

As a travel nurse myself, I whole-heartedly feel that the assignments that require you to go to a completely new location are one of the most rewarding parts of the jobs. Meeting new people. Seeing new places. Touching lives. Helping patients. For me, the joy of facing the unknown is my cup of tea all day long, but this is not true for everyone.

Quite often, a travel nurse new to the industry might want to “test the waters” before they actually commit to a travel nursing assignment. Other times, a travel nurse might have family or obligations at home that require them to stay as close to home as possible while they work as a travel nurse.

All of these considerations being said, this brings us to the one thing that unites all nurses in the world of travel nursing – freedom. It’s your choice if you want to work far away or stay close to home. Think about what matters most to you. Is meeting new people and exploring new surroundings the most important aspect of travel nursing for you? Or is it most important to you to advance your nursing career and learn new skills?

Call us today at 208-378-1338 and we will be happy to explore the exciting high-paying travel nursing jobs available at Elite Specialty Staffing.

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