I came across an interesting post earlier today which discussed the idea of new grad nurses becoming travelers. So, basically, these nurses are straight out of training and traveling around the country to new facilities to work in their departments with little to no orientation. There are probably several reasons for this. To me, the most obvious one seems to be money. Traveling nurses can earn some good cash, especially during the times we are living in right now.
As a traveling nurse for 10 years, myself, I can definitely say that it’s a great career path with numerous opportunities. The ability to travel, work in different locations, meet new people, and have several unique experiences is something very few other professions offer. Bottom line: travel nursing is a lot of fun and you can make great money doing so.
That being said, as a traveling nurse, you must be able to walk into a new place and hit the ground running. There is very little time to get comfortable and find your way around. You must be flexible and adaptable. The staff dynamics will be much different in each location and you must be able to pick up the pace very quickly. Basically, you have to walk in knowing what you are doing, or you will be eaten alive. I have seen this happen numerous times.
Therefore, the chances of a new grad nurse becoming a traveler directly out of school and being successful is slim to none. Not only will you be completely overwhelmed, but you could be putting people’s lives in danger. I do not say this to scare anyone who wants to take this path. Once again, I was a traveling nurse for 10 years and loved it. However, I had adequate experience in my specialty and had already worked in a variety of environments.
Before becoming a traveling nurse, try to get at least a year of experience in a particular specialty. I also advise that you try floating to different departments in your facility and get used to being in unknown environments. This will help you tremendously and you will be thankful that you did. Develop a good foundation and your travel nursing career will more likely be a success. Don’t do it just for the money, but for the passion of helping people in multiple places. I have been able to take care of people all over this country and that is probably the most satisfying thing about being a traveling nurse for me.