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Travel Nursing - Smooth Ride or Bumpy Road?

By Scott Knutson

Travel nursing is an up-and-coming profession that appeals to many nursing professionals for several reasons. Excellent pay and benefits, the chance to travel at the expense of someone else and variety are among the positive points of travel nursing. Sound great? It's not all the "bowl of cherries" that some believe.

The idea of getting paid to travel appeals to many people. The problem is that we want to have time to take in the sights, relax and enjoy our travels. Travel nursing is similar in some ways to driving a truck. You may get to see some incredible sunsets and view awesome scenery, but you're seldom going to have the opportunity to stop and smell the roses, visit those tourists destinations and take photos (unless you snap them from the window of a moving vehicle). In many cases, those panoramic views will be nothing more than spots from an airplane window.

So what's all the fuss about travel nursing? There are some positive points. You DO get to travel. While it's not like a vacation, how many people do you know who have seen the world? Even getting to view Paris, France from a moving vehicle is better than never having seen it at all. And while there are those cases that require every bit of your time and attention, many patients who travel are stable enough to do so. They may also be up for enjoying at least some of the trip and to share the memories of those views - even if they're all from the inside of a moving vehicle.

Once you get away from the fact that you're traveling and that you may not be seeing as much as you'd like, there are some real benefits to traveling nursing. Pay is one of the big benefits. Many companies advertise pay from $25 to $75 per hour, depending on the demands on your time, the amount of experience you can offer and the length of the trip. On the downside, be sure that the money is sufficient. $25 an hour isn't much if you're working three hours and then spending the night waiting for your next assignment.

Aside from the tangible benefits, there's always that goal that health care professionals have to help people in need. Travel nurses become responsible for their patients during a trip. Those trips are sometimes long, difficult journeys. During that time, the travel nurse can literally be the difference between life and death for critically ill patients. But remember that those patients and their families typically have some driving reason for the trip. Perhaps it's someone who fell ill during a vacation in another country. Maybe it's an opportunity for a better treatment facility or one closer to friends and family. Whatever the purpose, the trip is usually a step toward the hope of a better life. As a travel nurse, you can be part of that.

There's no doubt that travel nursing provides an excellent opportunity for many, though it's not for everyone. If you enter this profession knowing all the facts, you may find that travel nursing is exactly the career move you've been looking for.

This article may be reproduced only in its entirety.

Scott Knutson is an entrepreneur and writer.

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