A travel nurse is a nurse who is hired to work in a specific location for a limited amount of time. Travel nurses typically work 13 week periods in one area, and move around the country depending on where they are needed. Because the demand for nurses is so high, there are often shortages in certain areas, and a traveling nursing will be hired to come in and work in a specific position for a short amount of time.
The major benefit of travel nursing is that you get to choose where you live and work. If you are tired of your current location or want to get away from cold weather for the winter, you have the ability to find a job in a different location and move for a short period of time. You are able to make money from wherever you like and are able to change locations and assignments regularly if you choose. With a travel nursing job, you also have the ability to vacation where you work and explore new cities and parts of the country or world on your time off. You have the opportunity to see new places and test them out for a while to see if you would want to eventually live there permanently.
While travel nursing is certainly one of the most rewarding careers available in the healthcare industry, this doesn't mean it doesn't come with its own challenges. In order to prepare for a successful and enjoyable career as a travel nurse, you should be aware of these challenges and the best ways to overcome them. Take a look at the top five challenges associated with travel nursing assignments and consider the ways you can make the best of any situation.
1. Being away from home. As a travel nurse, you will be working in different locations and cities for each assignment. Some nurses find this to be a little lonely at first, but the best way to overcome this is to form friendships with the people you meet along the way. You'll have the extraordinary opportunity to experience a wide array of people and cultures, so make the most of it and explore your surroundings. The people you meet and become friends with will likely be your most cherished part of working as a travel nurse when you look back on it.
2. Working an unpredictable schedule. Hospitals and facilities hire travel nurses to fill in the gaps where they are short-staffed. For this reason, you may be asked to work schedules that you aren't accustomed to. Keep in mind, though, that you are doing the organization and your patients a great service by being there. You are extremely valuable as a travel nurse, and the more you remember this, the more rewarding your experience will be, no matter your schedule or shift.
3. Being a quick learner. Every hospital has its own orientation for travel nurses, and at some locations this can be brief. Your ability to learn rapidly will be essential as a travel nurse, even though it may be challenging at times. Future employees will be impressed that you were able to keep up in such a fast-paced environment, and you'll be able to expand your skillset.
4. Staying prepared for the unexpected. You might not know exactly what you'll be doing on a travel nursing assignment, but this is an exciting aspect of the career. Remember that if you ever need assistance during your assignment, your travel nursing agency is there to help.
5. Saying goodbye. Finally, sometimes saying goodbye to the friends you've made during the assignment can be tough. But you can always stay in touch while you're away – either ask your travel nursing agency if you can return to the facility in the future or extend your current assignment.
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