Nurses considering travel nursing are often hesitant because a common misconception of travel nursing is that you take a step back from career development and advancement opportunities while travel nursing. Although you are not building seniority within a particular facility, there are plenty of reasons why travel nursing can be used to develop your nursing career rather than put it on hold. With a little bit of strategery, nurses can enjoy traveling to destinations of their choice while gaining experiences that will build their career, bolster their resume, and increase their professional development. Here are 10 different reasons why travel nursing is a fantastic career development opportunity.
1. Exposure to Different Facilities
Healthcare facilities all have unique operations, processes, and practices. The average healthcare employee who works at a hospital will be able to learn a particular process well but will only be exposed to one way of doing things. The fact of the matter is that healthcare is in a near-constant time of change and nurses who have been exposed to a variety of different systems and operations will be better equipped to adapt to change and to bring innovative ideas to the table. Living and working in various staffing models, processes, and practices will give you first-hand experience to compare and contrast different ways of delivering patient care. Travel nurses will be able to bring first-hand experience to the organization they work for in ways traditional nurses will not.
2. Exposure to Numerous Specialties
Nursing turnover has decreased dramatically as the Millennials started to take over the workforce and the Baby Boomer generation has started to move towards retirement. Research shows that over 50% of nurses will leave a new job within 2 years of employment. Even if a nurse worked for 2 years and then transitions to a new unit, a travel nurse would have gained more experience while travel nursing than even a nurse with a short tenure. Depending on how you schedule your work while travel nursing, you could have worked with three to four times more patient populations or nursing specialties during the same period of time. This also helps nurses to determine which specialties they prefer and which they dislike. Obviously there is a benefit to staying in one practice for an extended period of time but that advantage quickly fades if you desire to do anything outside of that specialty.
3. Skill Development
Nursing responsibilities differ across hospitals. Large hospitals often have dedicated nursing teams who do a significant portion of nursing care such as placing catheters, placing IVs, performing activities of daily living or wound care. Additionally, large hospitals often care for complex patients with multiple comorbidities which will help nurses gain critical thinking and assessment skills. Rural or smaller hospitals don’t have the same amount of resources and nurses have to opportunity to provide all the nursing care to patients. Depending on your personal preference you might desire to do things offered at small hospitals during your travel nurse experience or you might appreciate seeing complex patients afforded at large hospitals. Travel nursing allows you to easily develop both important nursing skills and critical thinking.
4. Networking Opportunities
Travel nursing will allow nurses the opportunity to develop strategic relationships with nurse leaders from different hospitals around the nation. If you work hard and prove to be an asset to the team during your assignment nurse leaders will be sad when you leave and potentially ask you to come on full-time. That would be the ultimate compliment for a travel nurse and developing strong relationships with nurse leaders will prove to be valuable if you ever desire to get a permanent position at a facility you worked for while travel nursing.
5. Diverse People and Patient populations
Our culture has recognized the power and importance of diversity in our communities and in the workplace too. Working across the country allows you to work alongside and care for a diverse group of patients. As a nurse, you will learn to adapt to the needs of your patients by better understanding how they view healthcare and how their view of health impacts their care. Travel nurses could be exposed to health disparities across the nation and better understand barriers to quality healthcare that patients encounter. Travel nursing will teach nurses to provide culturally competent care.
6. Building Your Confidence
Travel nurses who get comfortable with their role develop confidence in dealing with whatever might come their way and for good reason. After you’ve worked at a variety of hospitals, cared for hundreds of different patients with different diagnoses, performed every nursing care imaginable, and collaborated with many of the best physicians in the nation, there is sufficient reason for you to feel confident for what any shift might throw at you. Not only that but when you write out our resume to apply for a travel nurse job or any other nurse position, hiring managers will be impressed and will have confidence in your ability to succeed in any position your applying to.
7. Work With Different EHR systems
One of the difficult parts of nursing is learning different electronic health records (EHR) across different facilities. Travel nursing will surely expose you to different EHRs and help you learn them better. Each assignment will provide new opportunities to learn about EHRs to the point that travel nurses could be competent in multiple EHRs. This makes training and orientation easy with new assignments.
The nursing profession requires nurses to maintain a certain level of adaptability and flexibility. Hiring managers jump at the opportunity to hire nurses who adapt quickly to new changes without complaining or struggling. Nurses who can quickly adapt to changing patient volumes, fluctuating patient conditions and the overall unpredictability of a nursing unit enjoy their work more and make work fun for those around them. Travel nurses are continually exposed to new situations, patients, and work environments and are forced to succeed in these environments. It takes a special person to welcome the instability. The nurse who embraces the instability because they developed into a nurse who can adapt and is a high-quality nurse. Travel nursing prepares you for this better than any other opportunity.
9. Increased Perspective
Experienced nurses are valuable because they have more perspective about challenges facing hospitals and it is advantageous in many ways. Obviously having dealt with numerous challenging patients you can pull from those experiences to critically assess patients and situations in ways a novice nurse couldn’t. Furthermore, an increased perspective helps individuals to empathize with patients and colleagues when they are going through stressful situations and they understand that change can be hard. Travel nurses are exposed to so many different situations, whether it be patient conditions or working with a difficult colleague, that they are better able to deal with those situations in a positive and professional manner. Obviously there are a variety of factors that influence an individual’s ability to remain calm and professional in heated and stressful situations but someone who has been through it will be better suited to handle the situation properly.
10. Build Your Problem-Solving Skills
Nurses problems-solve all day. Arranging patient cares, clarifying orders, addressing patient concerns, and constantly having to divide attention and time amongst a group of patients and family members are just a few examples. As travel nurses work in different hospitals, with different patient populations, and on different units, they are in a revolving door of problem-solving because of the consistent change. This continuous process of problem-solving builds confidence and the ability to solve problems which is an invaluable skill for any nurse.
Travel nursing can be a favorable career development path for any nursing looking to climb the ladder in the nursing profession and it doesn’t have to be at the cost of your personal dreams and aspirations. Travel nursing can be the perfect blend of professional development and commitment to self. If you desire to travel the country and have steady work, head over to Vivian today to find your first travel assignment!