The Less Glamorous Side of Travel Nursing

Last week- I shared the reason I loved being a traveling nurse and five reasons you should be one too. Today, in the name of transparency, I’m talking about the less glamorous side of travel nursing.


The nursing nemesis, floating. Now, with the right mindset, this doesn’t have to be the worst thing in the world. I wrote a post about floating and my tips for floating as a nurse. My first 2 contracts I was a float pool nurse for 13 different units. I honestly had never really floated in my staff job and then all of a sudden I was finding out what unit I was on from a post it note on the time clock! It was a change, but I ended up really liking it and found mindset had a lot to do with that. My last job- I could be floated to three other hospitals. And I did float to them. It could be stressful, but it wasn’t terrible. If you travel, just expect to float, it’s part of the job. And thankfully, it doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

Away from Friends/Family

My sister visiting us in Washington D.C.

I would be lying if I said you were never going to get lonely while you travel. I miss my family and friends. Thankfully, I loved the adventure, and I had my little family with me (Bradley- my husband, Declan- our dog, Annabelle- our cat) which definitely helped. Also, technology now is great! You can FaceTime easily with family and friends and text are a way to stay connected! You also can always have people come visit and get to explore a new area with you! We had a blast when my family and one of our friends came to Washington D.C. and people definitely love coming to visit in Florida, lol!

Applications & Interviews 

You will be submitting, interviewing and onboarding every 13 weeks, maybe more, maybe less. Many times you can extend at a job, so you do have an option to stay longer and not have to do the whole process again. You will have to be in contact with your recruiter (they submit you for the job), available for phone interviews (this can suck on night shift) and do those TERRIBLE modules, skills test, rhythm tests, etc every new facility you go to. It’s definitely not a deal breaker, but it is something to keep in mind.


Working the Covid Unit

Orientation sucks as a travel nurse- no other way to say it. You typically get two days max orientation. Two days. To learn the unit, why to find policies, how to chart, etc. My last assignment I got one day orientation then was on my own. You typically do have a classroom orientation for one or two days- but that’s honestly not to helpful. I thought I would never be able to survive a short orientation like that but I did! Expect your first week to be rough, but you can do it!

Overall- I still would recommend travel nursing to anyone who wants to try it! It’s a great experience, better money, and if you don’t like it- you can go back to a staff job after 3 short months! I really loved traveling and I got to experience and learn a lot.

Have you been a travel nurse before? If so, do you have any pros or cons to add? Also- drop any questions you have below!

Other Travel Nursing Post you may be interested in:

One Year as a Travel Nurse

My First Travel Nurse Contract: My thoughts and experiences