5 Travel Nursing Myths Debunked!
There are several myths about travel nursing that can deter nurses from taking travel assignments.
Below, we bust some common misconceptions about travel nursing and give you the truth.
5 Common Travel Nursing Myths
Myth #1: Travelers Always Float
This is the biggest reservation I had when initially considering traveling. As a staff nurse, I loathed floating. So I was happy to discover that travel nurses don’t necessarily float more than staff nurses.
Do they float first? Typically. Do they float every shift? No.
In what situation might a traveler float? The same situation in which a staff nurse would float: when the census is low and another unit needs help.
I’ve had travel assignments where I never floated a single shift in three months and others (mainly in the summer) where I floated once or twice a month. After four years of travel nursing, I actually don’t mind floating anymore because traveling has made me more flexible and more inclined to have new experiences.
Myth #2: Travelers Get “Bad” Patient Assignments
I’ve never left a travel contract feeling taken advantage of. It’s true that, at the beginning of an assignment, you may feel like you’re getting the “easy” or “bad” patients but remember two things:
First, they’re testing you out. They don’t know you. The only thing the unit knows is what you put on your skills checklist and what you said in your 30-minute phone interview. Once they get to know you, they’ll start trusting you and using you to your skill level.
Second, you’re there to help out. Travelers exist because hospitals are short-staffed. If you weren’t there then some other permanent staff nurse would have that assignment or worse, that assignment plus one…or more. I’ve never worked in a unit or heard from another traveler that they were directly targeted to take a “bad assignment.”
Myth #3: Travel Nurses Don’t Qualify for Health Insurance
This persistant myth keeps plenty of aspiring travel nursing from hitting the road but it’s just not true.
Many travel agencies offer health benefits. You’ll need to check the details of your contract as coverage will vary from agency to agency. If you plan to work with the same agency for multiple assignments, there may be an extended coverage option that ensures your coverage won’t lapse between contracts.
Alternatively, some agencies offer reimbursement to cover your health insurance costs which you can put towards a personal insurance policy.
Many travel nurses opt for personal insurance so they can select a policy best suited to their individual needs and avoid any coverage lapses or expensive COBRA premiums between assignments.
So while your health insurance may be more complicated than it was when you were a staff nurse, you have plenty of options and don’t need to skimp on coverage while you’re traveling.
Learn more about travel nurse health insurance here.
Myth #4: Travelers Always Have to Work Nights
This is false. I am a day shift traveler. I am on my 14th travel nursing assignment and I’ve only taken three that had potential night shifts.
It’s definitely easier to find night shift positions. If getting a day shift is more important to you, you’ll have to be more flexible with location but that doesn’t mean you’ll have to miss out on that city you want to go to or hospital you want to work in. You just might not get there exactly when you want to get there.
Myth #5: Travelers Only Work In Small Towns
As a travel nurse, you have opportunities to work in some of the most prestigious hospitals in the country. You can work pretty much wherever you want to work — big cities included.
If you want to get to a specific city you might have to be more flexible about which hospital you work in. However, if you want to get to a specific hospital that shouldn’t be much of an issue. I’ve worked in some of the best children’s hospitals in the country.
Hospitals need help, all of them. Unless you want to, you won’t get stuck in a tiny county hospital in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere. Travel nursing opens so many doors to so many great opportunities in all kinds of places.
Travel Nursing Is What You Make It
Ultimately, your travel experience is what you make it. You can choose your own path: what city you live in, what shift you work, what unit, and what hospital.
Working with travel nursing agencies can help you evaluate potential assignments in plenty of different locations and pay rates at once.
So don’t let these common myths prevent you from a travel nursing career — and enjoying perks that come with it: great pay, professional development and adventure!