MTV recently premiered its new reality TV show “Scrubbing In”, focusing on the lives of nine young and vibrant travel nurses working in Orange County, California. Dedication patient care is certainly portrayed by the cast, but of course partying, playtime and personal drama comes with reality television territory and “Scrubbing In” is no exception. The latter makes this show hotly debated, with some nursing organizations calling for its cancellation. The popular online petition site, change.org currently has a growing petition with over 25,000 signatures.
The question remains: Does this show paint an accurate picture of life as a traveling healthcare professional? For those interested in pursuing a career as a traveling healthcare professional, we thought it would be helpful to separate reality TV from….reality.
Lives of traveling healthcare professionals are sometimes depicted as vacations, with occasional work in between. As a “Scrubbing In” cast member said, “You’re making money, and you’re vacaying on your days off”. Well, that’s unfortunately no guarantee. Not every travel assignment is near sunny beaches, trendy clubs or majestic mountains. Depending on where you are and how many hours you work, days off will be chances to rest, exercise, read, make doctor appointments, pay bills, sightsee, etc. You may also be too tired to party if you’ve picked up extra shifts. It’s also important to know that not every assignment pays big bucks. Your take home pay depends on several factors (i.e. region, housing, facility, etc.).
Another scene on the show’s premiere shows a nurse being pulled out of orientation because her licensure had not gone through. To avoid scenarios like this, many facilities are requiring you to have an active license in hand prior to applying for a travel job. Many license applications take at least 6 weeks to be processed, especially if problems arise. If you plan right and give yourself time to obtain a license for your state of choice, you can avoid being escorted out of orientation. Most travel agencies ensure that you have active license prior to submitting you for a position.
Being a travel healthcare professional has awesome rewards. If you’re interested, you should definitely go for it! You gain confidence, experience and friends. You may not party like the cast of “Scrubbing In”, but don’t let that stop you from having a great experience. No party bus? No booze cruise? No problem. Happy traveling.