By Christine Whitmarsh, RN, BSN
Just as little kids mull over the possibilities of what they want to be when they grow up, nursing students custom design their dream career. A few years on the med-surg floor first, then perhaps a move into the ER or ICU, followed by a return trip back to school for a Master’s degree and later on a nurse practitioner career. Nurses with a wandering spirit are more likely to map out a career as a travel nurse, combining medical specialties with coveted work destinations. The beauty of travel nursing jobs is that they are listed the same way. Are you a skier or a surfer? Would you rather be a travel ER nurse in Denver or traveling CCU RN in California? Are you into bright lights big city or the quiet relaxation of a smaller town setting? Your dream career might be as an ICU nurse in Dallas or a labor and delivery nurse in Alaska. If you’re having trouble making up your mind then travel nursing is definitely the right field for you. Short assignments and diverse staffing needs around the country make indecisiveness a perfectly acceptable trait in a travel nurse. How many other fields is this true for?
In a tight economy and even tighter job market, few people have the luxury of custom designing their dream job. Even with the budding nursing shortage, travel nurses have to be savvy about signing with the traveling nurse agency that best represents their interests and consistently following up on potential assignments.
If you need reassurance, remember that a career in nursing still has more flexibility and options than most other fields of work right now. Nobody is ever handed their dream job on a silver platter, especially in tough times. But that doesn’t mean you need to stop dreaming and stop seeking the nursing career that you mapped out for yourself in nursing school. As a travel nurse you might even get from point A to point B a little bit faster.
Christine Whitmarsh is a Registered Nurse with a BSN from the University of Rhode Island. She is a freelance health journalist and medical writer and a contributor to Travel Nurse Source and Allied Travel Careers.