Kelli Leach
Kelli Leach
November 6, 2015 - 3 min read

4 Disadvantages of Travel Nursing that Will Actually Make you a Better Nurse

As with anything in life, travel nursing isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. There are added stresses caused by the lifestyle as well as some disadvantages compared to a typical staff nurse job.

Fortunately, the adventure and excitement of travel nursing tend to make up for some of the minor inconveniences.

Let’s look at some of the so-said disadvantages and break them down into how we can use them to our advantage while travel nursing.

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1. Being Away from Family & Friends

Being out on your own in a new city at a new job can be scary and lonely.  You have completely disrupted your normal routine and don’t have those familiar places and faces to turn to when you need comforting.

Why this is an advantage: Being away from your home base forces you to branch out and make new friends.

My husband and I have been travelling for five years and it is so cool to think back on how many friends we have made. We have created our own family of sorts all across the country!

Traveling is not only a great way to meet new people, its also great for deepening existing bonds. We have met up with several family members that we rarely saw before because they lived outside of our home state.

With family visits fewer and farther between than when we lived back home it really makes everybody cherish their time together that much more.

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2. Job Instability

The uncertainty of when and where your next job is going to be is next to impossible to get used to, so you might as well just accept it early on. One thing that eases the stress is to remember that there are ALWAYS travel nurse jobs available – ALWAYS.

It might not be exactly what you are hoping for, but you won’t go hungry and without a paycheck if you don’t choose to.

Why this is an advantage: One of the biggest stressors in travel nursing also happens to be one of the most exciting aspect of travel nursing. That anticipation and waiting to find out where you are going to live in such a short amount of time is quite thrilling.

It definitely makes you nervous from time to time, but try to learn to embrace the adventure of it. How cool is it that today you could be living in sunny California and next week you could be in snowy New York?!

Explore the country while doing what you love.

3. Scheduling

To be completely honest, scheduling as a traveler can be quite the headache. There is no such thing as a “regular schedule” and very few facilities allow travelers to self-schedule (although some do). For the most part, you are at the mercy of whoever makes your schedule.

Why this is an advantage: As a traveler, you are there to help them fill a void and so it is part of your job description to be flexible and go-with-the-flow. It can be a hard adjustment, but an invaluable one. Accepting that things like scheduling will likely be out of your control will allow you to focus on things that really matter, especially your patients.

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4. Floating

Oh, good ‘ole travel nurse floating. It’s real. It happens. Sometimes it happens a lot. I think this is one thing we warn new travelers about the most. Just accept before you ever get started that you will be floated. It’s not a maybe thing, it’s a definite (I suppose some specialties might be exempt, but most are not).

It can be kind of intimidating, but that it why it is imperative that you are confident in your skills as a nurse before you begin to travel.

Why this is an advantage: Floating can be frustrating, but the benefit to you is that you gain experience in areas you may not have had if you were staff nursing. The experience you gain far outweighs the inconveniences.

Not only do you pick up new skills that will make you a more well rounded nurse, you also make professional contacts from all specialties all across the country.

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The Bad Isn’t All That Bad

As you can see, the “disadvantages” of travel nursing can often be considered advantages. I suppose it’s all about perception and attitude. What may have initially seemed like a disadvantage may be what ultimately makes you a better nurse!

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