Friday, March 15, 2013

Thoughts on Travel Nursing...

Travel Nursing: Two of my favorite things combined in one term.

As a now "fairly experienced" nurse, having almost 4 years under my belt, I'm always looking for new opportunities to expand my skills. And yes, I am in grad school but I'm always looking ahead to the next step to learn even more. My appetite for knowledge never subsides.

I first looked into travel nursing when I traveled to California last year to visit one of my friends from college who moved there two summers ago with her new husband. As any New England/Mid-Atlantic dweller, I feel in love with southern California. The lifestyle and weather won me over instantly. The idea of running along a beach in February without losing fingertips to frostbite was enough to spark my interest. Now, how could I get out here without being tied down (to a job meaning giving them at least a year of my time after providing me with an orientation)?  I've worked with travel nurses at my last in Cambridge. They always seemed like happy, carefree, and confident nurses. Many were from the Boston area but would take assignments in Arizona or California during the winter time then come back to Boston to be with their families during the summer.
My college friend and I on a brunch cruise near the Coronado Bridge in San Diego
What's so great about it?

Hospitals pay an agency to give them an experienced nurse short notice to fill staffing gaps. On top of a pretty good pay rate, the agency sets you up in housing (fully furnished) or gives you a housing stipend based on the cost of living in the surrounding area. In order to expedite this process, the agency usually also pays for licensing fees and gives a relocation/travel stipend to get you to the assignment (and sometimes back). Plus! Day 1 health/dental coverage, free CEUs and referral bonuses if you refer another nurse to their agency.

Too good to be true? There's always a downside. In this case, orientation for travel nurses vary. A hospital may expect you to be up and running after a 2 day orientation. Others may be more generous and give you a week. So basically, you have to be confident in your skill set.

Now as I'm nearing the end of my NP program (t-125 days!), I'm looking for a new challenge and a change of scenery. I've successfully recruited a friend/nurse from Penn so I can share this new adventure. I've talked with a few travel nurse companies and now I've taken to blogs to gather more information. Any tips or words of advice?


  1. I don't have any advice, but this does sound wonderful. I have a NP friend that was a travel nurse before she bacame a NP & she LOVED it. She was set up in Malibu for a while on a long term gig & she said she was RIGHT on the beach. She drove a benz & basically just lived it up. She highly recommended it. Of course with a husband & 2 kids it's not something I would/could do, but if you do I can't wait to read about it!! :)

  2. *became not bacame, type much? :)

  3. I travel nursed for three years before settling when the economy turned downward. I did travel to Florida, Seattle, and California and enjoyed it. Your first few assignments are a learning experience on what to expect the next time. Some assignments are great and some horrible, mostly because of the staff you work with. Not sure your specialty but it does not really matter, nursing is nursing everywhere. I am now in the SF bay area and people think it is great we have patient ratio laws. But they took away some of our CNA's. I would take an extra patient and a good CNA.
    Go see the country and save your money.

  4. Hi, I'm Mario! I'm working on a site for healthcare professionals like yourself and would love to speak with you. Please email me at your convenience, thank you!