Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or new to the world of travel nursing, it’s important to be aware of the challenges you may face on the job. Here are 5 challenges of being a travel nurse – and how to overcome them!
Limited time off
One of the biggest challenges of being a travel nurse is the limited time off. Unlike staff nurses who typically have every other weekend off, travel nurses often only have 1-2 days off per week. This can make it tough to balance work and life commitments.
To overcome this challenge, try to plan your time off in advance. If you know you have a big project due at work, try to take a few days off beforehand so you can have some time to relax. Additionally, try to make the most of your days off by doing things you enjoy. Whether it’s exploring the city you’re in, going on a hike, or simply taking some time to relax, make sure you use your time off to recharge.
Working long hours
Another challenge of being a travel nurse is the long hours. Due to the high demand for travel nurses, many facilities are short-staffed. This often leads to travel nurses working 12-hour shifts, or even longer. While the extra hours may mean more money in your pocket, it can also be tough to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
To overcome this challenge, try to set limits for yourself. If you know you can’t work more than 12 hours in a day, make sure to communicate that to your facility. Additionally, try to take advantage of your days off to rest and recharge. It’s also important to make time for yourself outside of work. Whether it’s taking a yoga class, reading your favorite book, or going for a walk, make sure you schedule in some “me” time.
Being away from home
Another challenge for travel nurses is being away from home. While many travel nurses love the opportunity to explore new places, it can also be tough to be away from family and friends. Additionally, being in a new place can be overwhelming and stressful.
To overcome this challenge, try to stay in touch with your loved ones back home. Facetime, Skype, and other video chatting programs make it easy to stay connected. You can also send care packages, handwritten letters, and postcards to let your loved ones know you’re thinking of them. Additionally, try to make friends in your new location. Joining a local gym or book club are great ways to meet new people and feel more connected to your new community.
Due to the long hours and demanding nature of the job, exhaustion is a common challenge for travel nurses. If you’re not careful, burnout can quickly set in.
To overcome this challenge, it’s important to make self-care a priority. Make sure to get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, and exercise regularly. Additionally, try to schedule some leisure time to do things you enjoy. Whether it’s taking a yoga class, going for a run, or simply reading your favorite book, make sure you give yourself some time to relax.
Another challenge of being a travel nurse is the limited benefits. Unlike staff nurses, who typically receive health insurance and other benefits, travel nurses often have to pay for their health insurance. This can be a financial strain, especially if you have a family.
To overcome this challenge, try to find a travel nursing agency that offers health insurance and other benefits. Additionally, make sure to plan for your financial future by saving for retirement and investing in a health savings account.
If you’re considering a career in travel nursing, it’s important to be aware of the challenges you may face. However, with a little planning and preparation, you can overcome any challenge that comes your way.