How To Choose The Best Travel Nursing Offer – Pros and Cons
You did it! After spending what seemed to be an endless amount of time researching travel nursing companies, you finally found the right one for you. You’ve spoken with several recruiters and discovered the right person to represent you. But what do you do when all the offers start rolling in? How do you know which offer to take and which one is best for you?
Well for me, these were just a few questions I asked myself as my first offers started coming in. This can be extremely frustrating especially when you don’t have the answer to those questions.
First thing, don’t freak out! This is an awesome opportunity for you to be picky and find the best offer for you. A helpful tool I used to help me pick an offer was to create a simple pros and cons list. I would suggest starting with what is the most important to you. Here are the top pros and cons that I use.
For me, the main reason I wanted to become a travel nurse was to see new locations across the U.S. So if the offer was in a new place that I had never been to, this quickly became a pro for me.
I wanted to experience new locations and discover all the new things each location had to offer. If the offer hosted site to my family’s past spring break vacations, I would probably list it as a con.
When I got an offer, I always asked about the area of town where the hospital was located. I wanted to make sure my family would be safe living in this location for 3 or more months.
Weather played a huge factor for me traveling. Last thing I wanted to do was consider a contract in Alaska while I was battling a windy winter in the Midwest. So I would encourage you to consider what the weather will be like while you are visiting. No sense in taking a contract when the weather is going to be at its worst during your time there.
During my first winter as a travel nurse I landed an awesome contract in Arizona. It wasn’t too hot and it wasn’t too cold. So I was basking in the sun while my friends and family were experiencing one of the worst winters back at home.
It’s important to remember that just because you have a large pool of additional support staff at your current job, doesn’t mean every location has that same support staff. Some unit ratios are different for the same specialty so make sure you ask during your interview what support staff is available to you.
Another consideration is whether you will be working days or nights. I was typically a day shift only nurse. But when that Arizona opportunity came my way, I had to consider taking a night shift. After weighing the pros and cons, I realized taking a night shift position was well worth the opportunity.
You know how the old saying goes “money drives decisions” but money wasn’t my primary focus.
Typically, if the offer was high paying I would list it as a pro, but if the location was lame and in the middle of nowhere, I would then list it as a con. Sometimes you have to sacrifice a location for pay but by no means should you go below your bottom dollar amount just to experience a warm winter in Florida.
I have always enjoyed a good location that has a rich history.
We would go walk in little historical towns and go shopping or hike in a famous national park. One of my favorites was Mount Rainer National Park. I highly suggest it! So if the location had a high probability of me discovering a few historical sites, I would list it as a pro.
These were just a few of my top motives that would help me consider which offer was best for me. In the end, whichever had the most pros over cons would then become my next contract.
I would encourage you to list what is important to you and then list them as either a pro or a con. Because you will be living there for months and you want to make sure you enjoy your time there.
By Kyle Leffel, RN
Kyle Leffel has spent much of his travel nursing career by working up and down the west coast. He has spent the majority of his nursing career in cardiac critical/progressive care. Kyle Is currently working in his home state of Indianapolis, IN as a medical administrator with Medcor. When Kyle is not working, he is enjoying the trails and wilderness by backpacking and kayaking with his friends and family. You can follow Kyle on LinkedIn.
To learn more about Kyle and his decision to become a travel nurse, check out A Journey into Travel Nursing.
And check out his interview series: