6 Ways Travel Jobs Can Enhance Your Nursing Career
Travel Nursing Jobs Offer Many Ways to Advance Your Career
It’s no secret that we have a nursing shortage on our hands. In fact, it’s being loudly shouted from the rooftops by huge organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the American Nurses Association (ANA), and our very own U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) whose data show the number of jobs in the industry is projected to increase at 7% through to the year 2029.
While this information should give you a sense of confidence in your probability of finding steady employment, it doesn’t mean that there won’t be ebbs and flows over the period of your nursing career. Nor does it mean you won’t be faced with stiff competition, particularly when it comes to a certain position or job that you really want.
The lifestyle of a travel nurse can seem, from the outside looking in, to be one of endless adventure, and even to be one where life outside of work takes priority over the actual job. The truth of these observations however depends on perspective and personality. Yes, some of our travel nurses are drawn to the industry because it feeds a wanderlust or restlessness inside of them, others are drawn because of the lucrative benefits that often come attached, and yet others choose the travel nurse life because it helps them to reach new heights in their careers. All of these personalities may have different priorities, and yet every single type, regardless of priorities, reaps benefits to their nursing careers due to their experiences as a travel nurse or allied health professional.
Let’s do a deep dive into six of the most impactful ways travel nursing can grow your career, shall we?
1. Broad Knowledge
This one comes to nurses over the years of their career, and yet a travel nurse in only a few years has several contracts under their belt that has shown them the medical conditions, diseases, and variety of different workplace settings that could take a nurse in a full-time position much longer to experience (if ever). Most travel nursing contracts are eight to 13 weeks long, meaning you could work in as many as four completely different geographic and medical environments in the course of a single year.
2. Earn Specialty Certification
Whether you want a specialty certification because of your passion for the niche, or your motivation leans more towards the potential financial implications, earning the necessary work experience hours to even sit for certification can be challenging. However, a travel nurse who is willing to go where the available jobs are, instead of wait for them to become available nearby can whittle away at those hours quicker and shows a unique determination to meet a career goal as a cherry on top.
3. Nationwide Network
In the business of life, we never know when a contact can help us open a door, or show us a window we didn’t even know existed. Work your travel contracts with the knowledge that your reputation is a currency. You determine its value based on your actions, your work ethic, your attitude, and your efforts to maintain a network. Put effort into ensuring that your reputation is solid, and cultivate those contacts you make along the way regardless of their location. You never know when you’ll need someone in your network until you do. Make sure they’ll help you open the door, instead of shutting it.
4. Organizational Skills
It’s certainly a patient’s worst nightmare to have a disorganized nurse, and a hospital administrator knows the integral value of this skill among their staff members. A career as a travel nurse requires you to be able to manage your life (or learn to very quickly) with great skill. You’ll have 3-4 contracts a year, possibly 5 if you don’t do a chunk of time off in between, and more than likely they’ll be in different states. Your life will be one of movement, of organizing travel arrangements, organizing housing, a new job, and on top of that, you’re going to be tracking your expenses like a pro to maximize your tax deductions.
This is a learned skill, so don’t be put off by the tasks right away. Anyone can learn to manage this, and you’ll be surprised by just how quickly you do. The point is, this is a marketable skill that you can expound upon in a unique way in your resume and/or interview. You do the same thing every nurse who has a full-time job does, only you do it in a variety of geographic locations over the year, while moving, and paying your bills on time too.
5. No Workplace Politics For You
One of the benefits for travel nurses is that they are good at staying out of workplace politics. Part of this is simply due to the short duration of the work contract. Even more so however is that a travel nurse is often viewed as an outsider. Travel nurses learn quickly to keep comparisons, and complaints about coworkers or facilities to themselves because even if they are agreeing with the local, their status as an outsider makes taking sides treacherous. This caution about taking sides is a good habit to foster, and another admirable skill when it comes to building a career.
6. Healthy Work/Life Balance
While it might be tempting to try to cram in five contracts in the span of a year, it’s rather atypical for our travel nurses. Even if travel and adventure aren’t the main motivations for a travel nurse, the fact that the geography changes every eight to 13 weeks requires a travel nurse to get out and learn the new community and take an interest in the cultural opportunities and outdoor activities around them. Valuing life outside of work shows self-care and lessens burnout. This is definitely marketable in an interview to a prospective employer, but it will also serve your career in the long term allowing you to continue to shine instead of burning out.