The Challenges of Travel Nursing

A nurse stressed out by the challenges of Travel Nursing.

We’ve written before about the benefits of Travel Nursing, and why it’s way better than working as a Staff Nurse. However, there is another side of that coin.

There are some disadvantages of Travel Nursing. You should prepare for these, but don’t let them discourage you. Remember, Travel Nurses live a life that many people only dream of.

Jealousy about pay

As a Travel Nurse, you’re being hired to fill an immediate demand at a facility. Because demand is high, you’re usually making more money than Staff Nurses that you’ll be working with.

They may not be happy about that.

Some Staff Nurses may feel like the hospital should just increase their pay, rather than paying top dollar for Travel Nurses.

While you might end up on the receiving end of some jealousy, make sure not to lord your pay over your coworkers. Gloating about what you’re taking home will make you a lot of enemies, and that can make for a very long assignment.

Jealousy about shifts

Travel Nurses aren’t subject to seniority. You’re hired to fill a need, and sometimes that means you end up on a desirable shift.

Some Staff Nurses are trapped on a shift that they don’t like. Watching somebody come in and get a good shift can be frustrating. You might experience some jealousy from co-workers about your schedule.

You can defuse jealousy over schedules by being flexible with yours. Letting other Nurses know that your schedule is flexible will show them you’re a team player.

Heavier workload

Because of your pay and the perks of being a Travel Nurse, you’ll often be expected to handle a heavier workload. They’re going to make you earn that higher pay!

We’ve written before about how important Nurse to patient ratios are. Ask your Recruiter for as much information as possible about the ratio on any assignment. Since you’re a traveler, prepare for the higher end of that ratio.

If you find yourself in a situation where you’re being overloaded, talk to your Recruiter. Your Recruiter can be one of your greatest assets in working with the facility.

Floating more often

Many Nurses don’t like floating. Since you’re the Travel Nurse, it’s likely that you’ll be the first to get floated to another unit.

Floating can actually benefit you in a couple of ways. First, floating can help you avoid hospital drama because you won’t be spending as much time around the same people. Floating can also expose you to different experiences and skills that will make you a better Nurse.

Lastly, being open to floating can help you find more assignments. Since Staff Nurses are often unwilling to float, opportunities open up for travelers.

Cultural differences

The benefit of travel nursing is that you can work anywhere in the country, exploring new places and cultures. However, those cultures may not always mesh with yours.

An assignment might take you to a hospital where most of the staff is far different from you. They have a different way of talking, different customs and attitudes.

Some Travel Nurses feel like they’re treated like an outsider, even stereotyped. In other cases, Nurses quickly wear out their welcome by being condescending to their co-workers.

If you feel like the staff at any hospital is treating you inappropriately, you can rely on your Recruiter to advocate for you.

How do you avoid hospital drama?

The best way to avoid hospital drama is to be considered an asset by your co-workers. Don’t bring your own drama in, and reassure your new team that you’re a team player.

Have you experienced any of these challenges to Travel Nursing? Let us know about it in the comments.