Get Your MSN While Travel Nursing
With the expansion of so many online schooling options, nurses have more options than ever to engage in higher education platforms without having to sacrifice their careers.
Travel nursing provides a unique and incredible opportunity to continue working full time while traveling the country. It also gives nurses a chance to further their careers at the same time.
Since many schools have begun providing exclusively online options to obtain your degree, following both your career and travel dreams remains a reality if you are willing to put in the work. Often, nurses feel as though they need to be settled down and committed to living in one location before they can complete a program to advance their careers. However, with proper planning, a willingness to commit some of your free time, and the dedication to put in the work, you can obtain a master’s degree while never taking a break from travel nursing.
Take advantage of the free time early in your contract
Many online programs rely heavily on papers and discussions as opposed to projects and tests, and travel nursing provides the most ideal circumstances to buckle down and refine one’s writing abilities. At the beginning of a contract, many travelers find themselves with a lot of free time.
During these first few weeks of a contract, nurses can use this opportunity to find the best local coffee shops and crank out papers while indulging in new eats and beverages in a new city.
The first few weeks in a new location are also a good opportunity to work ahead in classes since most travelers tend to fill up their schedules as they meet new people and get to know their new home Since some programs only require 10-16 hours a week of work, dedicating one day a week to schooling is a great way to ensure success.
Structure your nursing schedule for success
If you are looking to continue working full time either as a travel nurse or even as a non-contracted employee, one of the most important aspects to consider while choosing a program is the flexibility versus rigidity of the schedule.
Since most travel contracts do not allow the nurse to have any control over their schedule, it is imperative that you choose a program that does not have strict time requirements or live classes. There are many programs that are structured to help facilitate students to maintain full-time jobs by providing consistent schedules throughout the entire program allowing the students to plan ahead and work around their full-time job schedule.
Some universities have constructed all of the classes for their Master’s degree to follow the same format every week. A sample schedule for the student would include writing a discussion post by Thursday night, responding to their peer’s posts by Sunday night, and submitting their papers by Monday night. The consistency of this format allows students to prepare and make use of their days off — regardless of their work schedule that week.
Do practicum hours between contracts
Many higher degree programs require practicum hours, but generally not towards the end of the courses. Depending on which path you choose, some of the hours will be much harder to fulfill on the road than others.
But you might be able to continue traveling while finishing off the strictly online portions and then either take time off to complete the hours or take a staff job at a hospital for a season to finish the hours.
But other programs make it feasible to complete the hours while traveling. Again, depending on the program, some even allow the practicum hours to be completed via an online agency or platform which tremendously opens the doors to continue traveling.
As with any part of this process, you’ll need to have the foresight to start networking and planning in advance to be successful, but there are many options available to complete practicum hours and remain a contracted employee through a hospital.
The bottom line
As with any decision to go back to school, there will be aspects of life you’ll need to sacrifice. There are some days that it might look like waking up early and other days that it looks like saying no to the day trip your friends have planned. But to have the opportunity to obtain a higher degree while still traveling the country and experiencing life to its fullest is worth all of the missed hours of sleep and dollars spent keeping you awake at the coffee shop.