How Does Travel Nursing Work?

In the past two years especially, you have probably been hearing more about travel nursing. These nurses move around to different locations to fill temporary positions where nurses are needed. But how does travel nursing work? Several significant factors set travel nursing apart from permanent staff nursing beyond the traveling itself, including a range of attractive benefits that make it an ideal career choice for many nurses. This article will explain the ins and outs of travel nursing, including how and why you might become one and what to expect if you do.

Why are travel nurses hired?

Travel nursing is a position that exists to remedy nursing shortages. When a hospital or clinic needs more nurses, be it due to a lack of new nurses, an increasing population or a crisis of some kind, it can rely on the temporary services of travel nurses to ensure its ability to provide quality healthcare does not suffer.

How are travel nurses hired?

Typically, travel nurses find work through healthcare staffing agencies. Given the contract-based nature of the work, these agencies make life easier on both sides. Hospitals have a reliable way to fulfill their needs, while travel nurses can find work. This way, you will not have to go through the process of looking at positions in numerous locations while searching for your next contract. The recruitment agency will find jobs from many different areas and have them available in one place. That is why finding a high-quality agency is key to being successful as a travel nurse.

Do travel nurses make a lot of money?

The yearly earnings of a travel nurse can vary significantly due to the flexibility of the job. But on average, travel nurses make considerably more than staff nurses, especially during the pandemic. In many places, healthcare workers have been in incredibly high demand recently, driving up pay for locum tenens nursing assignments. This difference in pay makes sense given the job’s travel requirements, but the increased compensation is more than worth it for many nurses who enjoy the lifestyle.

How can travel nurses balance work and life?

This is the elephant in the room when it comes to travel nursing. If the job requires constant traveling, how is it possible to still spend time with family and friends? While this may seem like a deal-breaker to some, the flexibility of locum tenens nursing affords travel nurses a great deal of freedom when it comes to taking time off and achieving a healthy balance of life and work. Since each job only requires a relatively short time commitment, travel nurses can take as much personal time as they want in between jobs. And because these contracts pay well, it is entirely possible to take a couple of weeks off between assignments and still bring in enough money. This aspect of travel nursing is excellent for fighting burnout and fatigue.

How long are travel nursing assignments?

The length of travel assignments varies, but 13 weeks is the most common duration. Because travel nurses can choose their assignments, you should usually find shorter or longer assignments based on your preferences. There is also the possibility of contract extensions, which the hospital may offer unprompted or be granted upon your request.

READ: How to Choose a Locum Tenens Assignment

Where can I go as a travel nurse?

Assignments are available all across the country in a wide variety of locations. If there is a specific area in which you would like to work or even a specific city, it is likely you will be able to find a matching opening. This means you can even work close to your permanent residence if you so choose, although it may disqualify you from receiving a housing stipend.

How does housing work?

On most assignments, you will be able to either find your own housing using a housing stipend provided by the hospital or live in the temporary housing they provide. If you opt for the provided housing, there will most likely be fees deducted from your pay, but you will save yourself the trouble of searching for a place to live.

What are some benefits of being a travel nurse?


Working as a travel nurse will yield experience in many scenarios and locations compared to traditional staff nurse work. This can be a great asset in advancing your career.


Picking your assignments means you can travel to places that you have always wanted to see. It is a great way to explore the country and test out living in vastly different locales.

Finding a travel nursing job

If you are interested in becoming a travel nurse, now is a great time to take the next step. You can help people in need while making great money and seeing the country. If that sounds right for you, contact us today and learn more about what you can get out of travel nursing.

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