Travel Nursing

One thing that I think I would like to try at some point is travel nursing. “What is travel nursing?” you ask? This is a service provided by an agency that hires nurses (RNs or LPNs), then places them with a hospital that has contracted with that agency to fill positions on a unit that, for some reason or another, the hospital is unable to keep filled. It may be due to a nursing shortage in the area, high staff turnover, changes in the hospital administration, labor strikes – lots of reasons. The assignments may be short (a few days) or long (a few months), but usually there is great flexibility in how long you want to stay in an area.

Travel nursing can be controversial. One reason is financial. The hospital pays a premium for agency nurses, who typically make quite a bit more than your average floor nurse. Also, travel nurses often have 100% of their insurance coverage paid – no co-pays at all. Many times, housing, air fare, and car rental is also covered by the agency (paid for by the hospital, of course). The fact that these nurses have better benefits and make more money while doing the same job as the floor nurse next to them rankles some people, and understandably so. “Why should the hospital pay her more money, when I’m doing the exact same job, and I’ve worked here for years?!” Also, you have a nurse coming into the unit who is unfamiliar with policy & procedure, and may take a few days (or weeks) to get comfortable in her role. Then, she (or he) is off to another hospital somewhere else!

I don’t think I would want to do domestic travel nursing, or even do it as a career option. I am thinking more along the lines of Chris taking a sabbatical for a year, then me doing travel nursing during that year with an agency that specializes in non-domestic assignments. I know of nurses who have done travel nursing in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, Australia… and your housing, rental car, and airfare are all taken care of. Sounds nice, right?

Sounds intimidating, too. Being a nurse in another domestic hospital is one thing. Doing it in a hospital in another country, well, that’s a horse of a different color. It will probably be quite awhile before Chris is given the option of taking a sabbatical, so I don’t have to work out all of the details just yet 😉 But it is nice to dream…

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