Nursing is a challenging field, but it can also be one of the most rewarding occupations out there. Every day, passionate caregivers are working hard to learn more and improve their treatment for patients everywhere. One of the best ways to develop professionally is by joining the growing ranks of traveling nurses, who provide care to all sorts of people in all kinds of environments around the country and even the world. But how exactly does travel nursing help with your development? Let’s take a closer look at what those considering travel nurse jobs need to know.
What Is Travel Nursing?
Much like the name implies, travel nursing is a variation of traditional medical nursing, where caregivers work short- to medium-term contracts with different hospitals or medical facilities. Most last 13 weeks (approximately three months), though they can range from less than a month to nearly a year. This benefits both medical facilities and nurses alike; hospitals get to scale their staff up or down as needed, and nurses get to practice their trade while also getting to see and experience new places every few months.
Four Ways Traveling Nursing Can Help Your Professional Development
So why should you consider travel nursing for your career development? Here are four of the top benefits.
1. Experience In Different Healthcare Settings
It may sound obvious, but not every location where healthcare services are given is alike. And these important differences can provide vital experience to traveling nurses, who will work in sometimes vastly different situations from job to job. Some may be at top-end hospitals in large cities filled with cutting-edge technology. Others may be small rural clinics with few staff and more basic equipment. But regardless of where nurses end up, they’re responsible for providing the same level of care and attention.
Practicing their trade in different healthcare settings forces nurses to think quickly and adapt, a skill that serves them well in the long run. It also makes them more desirable as an employee when they decide to settle down, as they’ll now have experience working in just about every situation – meaning they’re prepared for whatever job may be available.
2. Experience with Diverse Patients and Conditions
We’ve mentioned the radically different healthcare settings where traveling nurses may practice; naturally, these places will also sometimes have radically different patients, too. Widely varying conditions will affect lower-income people compared to richer ones, while race, ethnicity, gender, local lifestyle, and other factors can also have a significant impact on the kind of diseases and issues faced by a patient population. This gives nurses the opportunity to care for a wide range of conditions they might never encounter if they’d stayed in a single city or region. It’s a skill that can be especially handy down the road should an uncommon issue occur. Experienced traveling nurses will often have encountered it already and be ready to spring into action, while typical nurses may need more time to get up to speed. In a field like healthcare, time is often of the essence, and this travel nurse experience can make a big difference in getting the correct treatment fast.
3. Experience with New Technologies and Procedures
Medicine is developing more quickly than ever, and experience with a wide swath of technology and treatment procedures is invaluable – not just for patients who need care but for nurses looking to get ahead in their careers. Working in different settings, as discussed above, will require nurses to learn the subtle differences between varying models of similar machines, slight variations in treatment, and other particulars used by doctors and others.
As in any field, the more you can do, the more valuable you become. After a few stops at varying healthcare facilities, you’ll know these things like the back of your hand. Better yet, traveling nurses always have the opportunity to find facilities with specific tech or treatments they’d like to learn and apply there – essentially getting paid for training that can seriously boost their resume in the future.
4. Personal Growth and Self-Discovery
Becoming a top performer at work requires more than just what you do during business hours. Travel nursing provides the thrilling experience of exploring new places, learning new things, and meeting new people. All of these push nurses out of their comfort zones, helping them develop critical life skills like resourcefulness, people skills, self-confidence, and more. By meeting diverse people both at work and in their changing hometowns, they’ll grow as a person in ways that pay significant dividends in their professional life as well.
What Can Travel Nursing Do For Your Career?
There’s no doubt about it – travel nursing is the best way for caregivers to practice the trade they love while improving their skills and having a great time seeing the world, all at the same time. With so many benefits, it’s easy to see why so many nurses are packing their bags and hitting the road!
Lynn Martelli is an editor at Readability. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University and has worked as an editor for over 10 years. Lynn has edited a wide variety of books, including fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, and more. In her free time, Lynn enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with her family and friends.