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Posted on November 06 2019

The Pros and Cons of Being a Traveling Nurse

By  Editor
Updated March 05 2024

Travel nursing is a quite challenging yet rewarding career. However, before making a leap you need to know the cons and pros it carries. Mostly, many sites publicize the pros and don’t give much attention to the cons of travel nursing. Here we will provide you with both the cons and pros of being a traveling nurse so you can approach this career with confidence.


Pros of Travel Nursing:

1. Handsome pay and benefits

A travel nurse earns way higher than what regular licensed nurse earns. According to Payscale.com, a travel nurse can earn over $100,000 annually with their regular counterparts earning around $40,000 per year.

On top, travel nurses are entitled to other salary benefits such as: 

  • Tax-free earnings
  • Workers compensation
  • Generous reimbursements
  • Healthcare, retirement, and workers compensation benefits
  • Bonuses
  • Deals and discounts

2. Adventurous lifestyle

For those people who suffocate for being in the same spot year in and year out, travel nursing is the real deal. 


Traveling nursing offers you an opportunity to travel the world and explore new horizons. For the adventurous nurses, it’s an opportunity to exercise their interests like hiking, kayaking as well as interacting with new people and cultures. You can base your assignments on anything you like from weather to hobbies to interests.


3. Enhanced Professional Growth

Traveling to diverse environments exposes travel nurses to a diversity of facilities and experiences from large scale medical facilities to rural facilities to unique high caliber medical tools and equipment. There is basically no limit to the type of experience you can acquire as a traveling nurse. 


Obviously, this brings about much professional growth. Exposure to diverse settings enhances your skills and specialization. Indulging with diverse people exposes you to a plethora of cultural diversity which eventually stretches your skills. 


Cons of Travel Nursing:

1. You Are There To Fill A Need

Mostly, travel nurses are called upon to fill a hole in a medical facility. When medical facilities experience a shortage of staff spontaneous or their regular staff are on leave, that’s when they look for a freelance nurse. Mostly, these nurses are called upon to work on weekends, holidays or during emergencies. 


Well, as much this is quite rewarding, it denies traveling nurses an opportunity to entirely plan their working life. Because anytime they can be called upon to travel and fill a need in a far off facility.


2. Professional Relationships

The frequency of travel associated with travel nurses makes it hard to build meaningful personal and professional relationships. For those with families, there is always a rift that is left by regular traveling. 


Traveling doctors work in a facility for a short time with no enough time to get comfortable with their counterparts. They often feel lonely, eventually leading to boring career life. The Gypsy Nurse Blog helps travel nurses to cope with loneliness during their life on travel such as joining a fitness club, learning a new hobby, getting a pet, and others. 


This is unlike registered nurses who can easily connect with friends and family regardless of where their working environment is situated.


3. Multiple Licenses

Travel nurses are legally bound by state laws to acquire work permits and licenses. 


However, in the US, for instance, these issues are addressed by the Compact RN license which addresses the challenge by obtaining one license to practice in multiple states. 


The process of obtaining licensure is a straightforward one. You just provide proof of license, background check and fee payable to the state nursing board. Depending on the specialty of your professional, such as a surgeon, additional documents may be demanded. 


Requirements for Travel Nursing:

Before you leap into the travel nursing career, you need to understand what is required for you to work. However, different regions demand different requirements.  


Firstly, if you are from outside the European Economic Area, you will have to undergo vetting to confirm your professional qualifications. If they pass your qualification you then undertake their Overseas Nurses Programme (ONP) course before you can practice nursing. 


For nurses willing to work as a travel nurse in Canada, you ought to acquire a nursing license in the specific province where you will be based. You will be required to pass an exam and pay a required fee. Just like in the US, Canadian laws demand that an incoming nurse undertake the NCLEX-RN exam by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing exam. You should also have a bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN) degree from an accredited institution.


For nurses trained outside the UK and EEA, you need to apply to be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). The role of NMC is to confirm whether you meet standards by comparing the training in your country with the standard requirement in the UK


For those nurses holding EC Treaty Rights and they have practiced for three years in EU member state, their proceeding takes the EU route. 


Nurses wishing to travel and work in Australia, the process doesn’t involve a major licensing exam. As long as you can prove that you graduated from a nursing school, you’re eligible to register as a nurse in AU.


Once the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) determines that your qualification matches their standards, you are free to register as a nurse in Australia.


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