Managing Expectations in Travel Nursing

Posted On January 11, 2013

Even if you’re new to the concept of travel nursing, chances are that you’ve heard about it from co-workers, friends or maybe from something you read online. As such, you might have certain expectations about it.

If you’re going to turn travel nursing into a career, it’s important that you manage your expectations. This will not only help you meet achievable goals, they’ll also lessen the frustrations and heartaches that are often the result of unrealistic expectations.

Let’s break down the most common expectations and see if they have any bearing in reality:

You can work in any location you want.

Not at first. If you’re a new traveler, you might have to save your favorite locations for your third or fourth assignment. Bear in mind that you will be competing with more experienced travel nurses for the most desirable locations. In situations such as this, there’s a great chance that the facility you’re applying to get into will choose the seasoned travel nurse. But this doesn’t mean you won’t be able to enjoy your first few assignments.

Make sure that you’re comfortable with the facility and location where your travel nursing company have assignment offerings. Say yes to only locations that you have some interest in visiting. Sure, they might not be your top choice but an assignment will only last for a few weeks. You’ll be able to move to a more desirable location in no time at all.

Working with more than one travel nursing staffing company is better because you have more options.

This is true but with a caveat. Only a handful of travel nursing companies require you to work exclusively through them. That said, staffing companies appreciate travelers who work only through them. They don’t have to worry about sending your resume to a facility that might already have it through another company.

You earn more working as a travel nurse.

The rates are higher for travel nurses than for regular employees but, in terms of saving money, you might be better off as a staff nurse. Traveling costs money. Yes, most travel nursing companies will take care of your housing and even provide incentive bonuses if you stay with them for x number of assignments. That said, a major appeal of travel nursing is that you get to explore and see the attractions of your destinations. If you don’t take advantage of this opportunity, there’s really no point in becoming a travel nurse.