For anyone who loves to travel, the ideal situation is to find a job where you can get paid while traveling the world. Few opportunities let you do this, though even fewer offer a steady wage that allows you to contribute positively to society.
When you think of the best travel jobs, the first job that springs to mind may not be nursing, but this is actually a highly in demand job, all around the world.
The sad fact is that two billion people around the world lack access to basic medicines needed for day-to-day health care, and many more suffer for want of simple surgical procedures. As such, qualified nurses are in high demand in many countries.
If you have a basic level of medical training, you can join one of the charities or international organizations dedicated to providing worldwide health, or you can set aside the prospect of a comfortable US salary and take a job in a developing country where your skills are desperately needed.
Most travel nurse jobs require at least 1 to 1 ½ year of clinical experience. If you’ve got the experience and think it sounds interesting, here are 6 reasons why you should do it!
Why You Should Become a Travel Nurse
Discover New Places
From large cities to the authentic culture found in rural communities, there’s no limit on where you can go, and this is one of the best reasons to try travel nursing.
A travel nurse is someone who fills a gap in staffing needs for hospitals and other medical facilities, and typically works on a contract, for a specific period of time (much like the role of a relief teacher in schooling).
There are short-term and long-term travel nursing contracts, typically between 8 and 26 weeks. And there’s high demand, being that almost every country in the world is experiencing a nursing shortage.
There are assignments for nursing everywhere, from quaint towns to major metropolises. This gives you the chance to live in almost any country or destination you choose, which very few other professions can offer.
For travelers, you’re able to move from place to place, and explore the world while still making a living. Or, if you’re looking for somewhere to settle down, you can try out an area before considering it for permanent relocation.
A World of New Friends
Being a travel nurse means you’ll encounter people from all walks of life, whether they’re your patients or colleagues, or simply someone you’ve met within your neighborhood.
This is a fantastic way to fully immerse yourself within a new country and its culture, and a great way to connect with people you may not have otherwise met as a tourist.
But it also means you’ll expand your professional network, as well as your personal friends list. Working in different places for each contract means you’ll be able to create more connections within the nursing field.
And it’s never a bad thing to have a large professional network!
Work / Life Balance
Travel nursing allows the opportunity to take time off between contracts; you don’t need to work back-to-back contracts, and experienced travel nurses can take two to three months off between roles.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if you want the stability of a long-term contract or a short-term contract in order to travel around the country more, so there’s a lot of freedom within this type of work to achieve a great work / life balance.
Keep in mind that day to day flexibility might not always be an option, as it’s rare that hospitals will let you choose your own schedules and shifts. But time inbetween contracts is completely up to you.
Learn New Skills
Working as a travel nurse means you have the opportunity to build your resume, and learn new skills. You’ll work at many different hospitals around the world, which means you’ll be exposed to many different specialties, methods, and different ways of thinking.
Taking a contract at a highly rated hospital is a great way to boost your resume, which may in turn, help when applying for a staff position at another medical institution, or when applying for accelerated BSN programs or graduate school admission.
If you feel that your nursing career is at a standstill, or you are tired of work-place politics, becoming a travel nurse can be a great way to take a sabbatical, while actually improving your skills and resume.
New work environments, and the chance to carry out new procedures is one of the main reasons to get involved with travel nursing. In one contract you might be dealing with outpatient procedures, while your next contract could see you in a state-of-the-art hospital using cutting-edge equipment.
Each place you go to will do things a little differently.
Make More Money
This is a common reason why people become travel nurses. According to one travel nurse staffing company, their typical travel nurse will make more than $100,000 for 36 weeks of work.
This is because they’re being paid on a contract basis, and contract workers are typically higher paid within the medical industry. That said, pay can really vary depending on who you’re contracted by, and in which country you’re working.
For instance, if you’ve gone into nursing with the altruistic mission to make a difference, and you’re working for an NGO out of a developing country, you’re going to make a lot less money than someone working for a private hospital.
As far as benefits go, housing support is typically provided for travel nurses by many agencies. This will usually be a furnished one-bedroom apartment, where utilities like the internet, telephone, and cable TV might be included.
If you would prefer to find your own accommodation, you may be given a housing stipend, and some agencies may also cover your travel expenses for going to and from your assignment.
This is usually reimbursed to you once you have completed the contract. Other benefits, such as insurance, vacation pay, and tuition reimbursement will also be offered; packages will vary by agency.