1. Woods, Anne RN, CRNP, APRN, BC, MSN

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Maybe you've always had a secret yearning to see the country, to take off in search of adventure, wherever it might lead you. Maybe you've always stifled that urge because you thought you were tied down by your job.


Maybe not anymore.


Now is the perfect time to reconsider, reconnect with your dreams, and realize that as a traveling perioperative nurse, you could have both: the adventure of travel and the career rewards of nursing.


Expand your skills and knowledge base

No matter where you work, you'll be exposed to different ways of looking at perioperative nursing practice and you'll acquire new skills and knowledge that will put some muscle into your curriculum vitae.


As a travel nurse, you'll have access to various assignments around the country, from small rural hospitals to large urban teaching centers. Each experience will help you grow as a nurse. At one hospital, for example, you could learn how to operate the latest robotic systems used in minimally invasive surgery; at another, you could mentor staff nurses who are unfamiliar with the new technology.


Benefit financially

Pay scales for travel nurses are comparable with or even better than staff nursing positions. Plus, as a travel nurse, you have the opportunity to earn bonuses, depending on which travel nursing company you sign with.


Benefits are attractive too. Medical and dental insurance coverage are pretty much a given. From there, the benefits vary and may include 401(k) and matching contributions, free housing, travel reimbursement or a travel allowance, various types of insurance (such as life, disability, and professional liability), and free or low-cost continuing-education courses.


Broaden your children's horizons

Have children? Not a problem: Recruiters are willing to accommodate just about any situation, including finding housing suitable for travelers with children. As a result, many travel nurses take their children and their spouse with them on the road. The experience can be invaluable for the children, helping to expand their viewpoint.


Even if you don't want to move your children around during the school year, you can still be a travel nurse. Request an assignment with an easy commute-say, in the next county or in a bordering state. Then in the summer, when the children are out of school, you can take to the open road.


The travel nursing challenge

Travel nursing will test you and help you grow, both personally and professionally. With just a few days' orientation at each assignment, you'll draw on the confidence you have in your nursing skills and adapt quickly and efficiently to new situations in your new environment. You'll challenge your perceptions and open yourself to new experiences. And along the way, you'll make memories that you'd never have if you'd stayed at home.


Anne Woods is director of journal strategy and development at Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Wolters Kluwer, Ambler, Pa.; a nurse practitioner in critical care at Chester County Hospital, West Chester, Pa.; and adjunct faculty for Immaculata (Pa.) University.




Woods A, Five reasons to consider travel nursing, TravelNursing2005. October 2005.