Travel nursing is an exciting career filled with lots of opportunities. Although the travel nursing benefits are great, you must be leary of the different myths that exist about travel nursing, with the most common myth being that you must live at least 50 to 60 miles away from a location in order to collect lucrative housing stipends and tax-free benefits.
In plain black and white, this is not true, because the IRS does not have a certain rule that indicates you must live a certain number of miles away from your work in order to collect tax-free benefits. The grey area exists because many hospitals and healthcare facilities do have a general rule of thumb that is in place, mainly to prohibit full-time employees from picking up the travel nursing contracts.
Furthermore, 50-miles is only about an hour’s drive. If you can land a travel nursing contract only that far away from home, it’s completely doable to drive there each day. Another popular choice travel nurses who work close to home often make is to get their shifts blocked so that there are a few days in a row, then drive to the location and stay in a hotel for a couple of nights at a time.
*Pro Tip: Sign up for loyalty programs with hotels and receive discounts on your stays.
What does all this mean? It means that you most definitely can be a travel nurse without having to hop on a plane and fly all over the country from job to job. There are specific tax deductions you can also claim from your own expenses, so be sure to consult with a tax professional in your state to get more information on what can be deducted to help you make your maximum potential for earnings.
Working as a Local Travel Nurse
I first learned about travel nursing documents when I met another nurse in a nearby town who told me about the work that she had been doing for a nearby travel nursing agency. She explained to me that she had a part-time hospital job in one town and then picked up PRN travel nursing shifts from the local travel nurse staffing company at two different hospitals in neighboring towns.
My interest was peaked. As a full-time nurse of four years who only became a nurse in the first place to become a travel nurse, this was just the opportunity I needed to “get my feet wet” working as a travel nurse.
Is your interest peaked? If you are thinking about working as a travel nurse in your home state, here are some of the pros and cons of doing so.
Pros to Travel Nursing Close to Home
- Lower out-of-pocket travel costs
- In some cases, you can keep your day job while earning top travel nursing pay on top of that
- Save yourself the hassle of messing with big moves with lots of luggage and furniture
- Home is still accessible
- Since you are more familiar with the area, it will be easier to find a good hotel or apartment
- You don’t have to miss out on family functions (unless you want to)
- If you feel homesick, you can take a short trip to remedy that
- You will have the security of being close to friends and family
Cons to Travel Nursing Close to Home
- You don’t get to see the country
- Working in your own state is going to very much limit the amount of travel nursing jobs that you can choose from
- In some instances, you are working a job with a super long commute and may have to arrange and afford temporary living arrangements
- Housing arrangements must be made
- Essentially, you will miss out on most of the travel nursing experience
Every travel nurse is different in terms of the top reasons why they became a travel nurse, but for some, it’s all about the opportunity to travel the country. I am the type that loves going to new places and meeting new people, but for some people, it’s not as enjoyable and can even be quite stressful.
If you are still thinking about becoming a travel nurse that takes on out-of-state contracts, then you might want to first pick up travel nursing jobs locally in order to “test the waters”. Then, you will be able to find out what it’s like which can help you make the final decision whether or not to be a travel nurse.
Every nurse reacts differently to the many caveats that accompany this career. While plenty of nurses are very comfortable going to a new place of work and hitting the ground running for others it can be extremely nerve-wracking. When you take on any type of travel nursing job whether its a standard three-month contract or a local travel nursing assignment, you are given little to no orientation.
I actually love the challenge of it and I can jump into any hospital and make it look like I’ve been there for years by about half-way through the first day. The biggest reason I am able to do this is that I have experience with several different electronic healthcare records and medication administration solutions – as those are usually the most time-intensive thing to learn.
I have always been inclined to the techy-side of everything and have been using computers since they first hit the classrooms and I am very good at learning new software of any kind. I also used to work as a hospital software implementation specialist where I would go to hospitals and assist staff members in learning new electronic healthcare software. Through this experience as well as the many years of working on hospital units, I have noticed that many nurses have a very difficult time adapting to new software. This is especially true for older nurses that are, on average, less tech-savvy.
Are you looking for travel nursing jobs close to home? We want to hear from you. Call us today at 208-378-1338.