The Travel Times: Why I chose travel nursing?
I have always felt that there was more to life than the beaches and oak trees of Florida that I have known since I was a child. With an aching heart, I longed to see mountains, cross streams, and to hop on rocks in wide-open spaces. The desire to travel grew when I started nursing school and that is when I knew that I would make time for it after working a couple of years in the ICU.
Five years later, I graduated and moved to Salt Lake City where I learned about different surgeries such as heart transplants and left ventricular assist device (LVADs). I fell in love with hiking and spending the day at Yellowstone or Bear Lake during the summer months. Yet, my heart still longed for more. So, I decided to take the plunge and become a travel nurse.
There are many things when one must consider before becoming a travel nurse. Factors such as your support system, pets, school, caring for the home and more can compel anyone to stay stationary. These are valid reasons to stay put and were ones that I considered too. So what pushed me to make the decision? I realized that it would all be there when I was finished letting my heart soar and explore.
With that being said, if travel nursing is an avenue that interests you, consider what you can gain professionally and personally. Professionally, you will learn new ways of nursing, see how other organizations manage their patients and staff, meet great colleagues, and expand on your comfort level as a nurse. On a personal note, you will learn how to navigate new cities and cultures, explore amazing places, and gain confidence in navigating life.
Travel nursing is simply a contracted nursing assignment away from home. When you are a contractor, your schedule may not be as flexible as you would like. However, you have the luxury of taking as much time between assignments as you want or as your budget allows.
How does one decide if travel nursing is a good fit? There are many methods people use to make life-changing decisions. Some list the pros and cons detailing all the consequences. While others may solicit feedback from family and friends. In the past, I have utilized these methods as well as a few others. But what really counts is being certain it is your decision and not that of others.
Of course, you have an opportunity to make some cash as a travel nurse. However, I did not do it for the money. Sounds cliche but a dear mentor once said, “I’ve never known anyone who was happy making a decision only for money.” My advice to you is if money is your only pursuit, you may feel compromised if traveling is not in your heart. In the end, I followed my heart and I will never regret my traveling days, the lessons learned, the friends I’ve gained, or the places I’ve toured. Forget the “pay your dues” nonsense! Traveling is the one thing I feel every nurse or NP should explore.
So, what are you waiting for?
Opinions expressed by NPSMcontributors are their own.