Is travel nursing a vocation or vacation?

15 May

With summer in full swing, are you thinking about travel? What about combining your vocation with a vacation!

Travel nurses live in places where others only dream of vacationing – and with great pay, excellent benefits and free housing. Global demand for travel nurses means that you can spend a month or even a year exploring your favorite cities, communing with nature in the peaceful countryside, or even going abroad.

To become a travel nurse, you will need an RN license and at least a year in your specialty field. You will also want to find a good travel nursing company to act as your recruiter and handle the paperwork – state licensing requirements if you work in the United States, immigration documents if you travel abroad.

Here are five amazing destinations for a once-in-a-lifetime experience:

1. The Caribbean. Whether you stay on an island or work on a cruise ship, the demand for nurses in the Caribbean is booming. Do your homework, though: some islands require nurses to speak Spanish or French.
• Pros: Turquoise water, sandy beaches and plenty of sunshine. Many islands are affiliated with American hospitals and have top-notch facilities and equipment.
• Cons: Some islands offer comparatively low wages and a high cost of living, but if tropical vacations are the highlight of your year, it may be worth it.

2. Australia. Far enough from the U.S. to be exotic, similar enough to not make you feel like a stranger in a strange land. Spend your time off on your own walkabout exploring pristine coral reefs, sprawling natural wonders and cosmopolitan cities. Aussies are friendly, outgoing and welcoming to visitors.
• Pros: If you’ve ever wanted to live in Australia, this is your best opportunity – nursing visas are given high priority in a country that is otherwise cool to foreign workers.
• Cons: You still need to jump through a few hoops. You’ll need an Australian nursing license (allow 6 – 9 months) and a medical exam. It’s more difficult to get a visa if you are older or married.

3. The American Sunbelt. The Southwestern U.S. and Florida are still catching their breath as millions of people migrate to new jobs and lives – as well as spectacular weather. All of this spells a desperate demand for nurses.
• Pros: High wages! Some travel nurses make up to $90,000 living in the Southwest US. More development means lots of new hospitals and cutting-edge equipment. You can work winters – during peak tourist demand — and go home in the summers.
• Cons: Sunbelt cities are fairly automobile-dependent and can be hostile to those who enjoy high-density development and walking.

4. Dubai. Sunny, modern, and booming with expatriates, Dubai is full of perks, perks, perks for registered nurses. Chief among them is an absence of an income tax. Facilities are some of the finest in the world.
a. Pros: A wide variety of career opportunities, ranging from corporations to schools to private care. Generous paid time off. Paid airfare from your country of origin.
b. Cons: A more conservative culture with stricter laws. The construction boom has created a challenging traffic situation.

5. Spain. Not as large a demand for nurses as other places, since the public health system has produced a glut of licensed nurses; however, there is a large expatriate community of retirees along the coastal cities and a need for English-speaking private nurses there.
• Pros: Unforgettable cities and friendly people. Spain has some of the best beaches and weather in Europe and is close to many top destinations by rail.
• Cons: Expect a culture shock. Visitation is allowed 24 hours a day in hospitals and families are responsible for the patient’s hygiene and aftercare.

We want to hear about your travel nursing experiences! Is it something that you would recommend? Was it the trip of a lifetime or an experience that you want to forget?

The Pulse wants to be your destination for the best travel nurse advice from the people who know best…..YOU!

Please submit your travel nursing stories, advice, and pictures!

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3 Responses to “Is travel nursing a vocation or vacation?”

  1. youngschultz February 19, 2010 at 10:37 AM #

    As a traveling nurse, it is always best to bring a couple pairs of comfortable shoes and an extra set of nursing scrubs, in case your uniform is not ready the first day of your assignment or in rare occasions not provided to you. And just keep all the receipts of all nursing uniforms as well as laundering expenses for tax purposes.

  2. k mitchell June 23, 2009 at 9:57 AM #

    I found the blog on travel nursing fascinating I’d like to travel when I turn fifty what agencies do you recommend?

  3. Jamie Englert May 18, 2009 at 2:39 PM #

    Being a Traveling nurse is an extremely exciting side to the nurse industry. In general the traveling nurse contracts are 13 weeks which is just long enough for you to visit a location and experience everything it has to offer. Many times as a traveling nurse you can extend on at facilities that you like and it is also a great way to test out parts of the country you may be looking to move permanently. These are all great aspects of becoming a traveling nurse, but one of the major benifits is that it is the most lucrative side of the nursing.

    Thanks!!

    Jamie Englert
    Bestaff Arcadia

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