What Do Travel Nurses Do?

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Nursing is one of the oldest, most dignified, and most helpful professions in the history of humanity, and one that we all depend on to keep us safe or to help us when we experience injury. However, as a career, nursing is known for the same pitfalls as education: wages that are too low for the work that is being done, poor administration, overworking, and understaffing. One way that many nurses overcome these issues is by working with various agencies to become travel nurses which affords more control, flexibility, and higher wages.

Due especially to the Covid pandemic, nursing jobs are in extremely high demand across the country. For those with the right qualifications and experience, travel nursing represents an excellent career choice.

Nursing Careers

As anyone who has worked in the medical field knows, nurses perform a lot of functions and have a wide variety of job types. Nurses can be found anywhere from pediatric oncology wards, to schools, to ICUs, to emergency departments, to long-term skilled nursing facilities. All of these nurses will perform different job functions and duties, although the basics remain the same.

The basic skills of travel nursing that any nurse needs to know are:

  • Bedside Manner

Comforting and caring for patients is more than just a routine job like performing maintenance on a vehicle. Patients are human beings, and must be treated with dignity and respect. The ability to bring calm and peace to those who are suffering, along with interactions with their family, is a valuable skill that should never be overlooked.

  • Med-pass

The core routine of any nursing job is to go around their patients administering medications, injections, eyedrops, or any other form of treatment. It’s absolutely essential to be on the top of your game here, as dosages and medications can never be altered. Part of completing a successful med-pass is counting through the pills and medications you are left from the last shift and ensuring that there is an accurate count when you leave.

  • Charting

Computers play a huge role in modern medicine, as most jobs have transitioned from paper to electronic medical records. Charting serves several key functions, such as making sure that patients got the meds they need, documenting your work in case you need to prove you did something in the future, shielding you from liability, and creating a record that other medical staff like therapists, doctors, and CNAs can use to understand the type of care required.

  • Skin/wound care

Your skin is the largest organ in your body and presents numerous unique challenges and risks in a healthcare setting. Those in long-term care settings are vulnerable to pressure ulcers from laying in the same position too long, and these need to be carefully treated. More importantly, pressure ulcers can be prevented by a nurse making sure that their CNAs are on top of rotating and moving the patient or using pillows to alleviate pressure. 

On top of this, nurses are also responsible for treating any other wound, burn, or abrasion that patients may have. This can often involve unpleasant smells and sights and can be uncomfortable or painful for the patient. Wound and skincare is an essential part of a nursing career, especially in nursing facilities or retirement homes.

Benefits of Travel Nursing

Many traditional staff nurses experienced burnout or fatigue during the pandemic, and either quit their job or became travel nurses. This has created an environment where the worker holds more power over the employee and can negotiate for better salaries or benefits. In this world, nurses are needed more than ever by facilities and hospitals, so there’s no reason not to take your career to the next level and make the most of it. 

Many news sites reported during the pandemic that travel nurses were making $5,000+ a week. Because of this incredible opportunity for travel nurses, many are quitting their jobs and choosing to work with agencies. This leads to even more staffing shortages, meaning wages for travel nurses go even higher. Each state pays differently for travel nurses so it is best to research beforehand.

Besides the salary, there are other benefits too. Becoming a travel nurse allows you to have a degree of flexibility and control over your life that most can only dream of. Let’s say you want to move to a beach, or always wanted to live in one particular city – as a travel nurse, you can do that.

That’s not to say there are zero drawbacks. Some find that the lack of stability causes anxiety, and often, you’ll be thrown into a fast-paced and chaotic environment with little training and expected to catch on quickly as a self-motivated learner. However, many may find this challenge exciting and interesting, and find that the other benefits of travel nursing far outweigh the drawbacks.

Nursing is always an excellent career choice and staffing agencies can help you. With the aging population, there is sure to be no shortage of nursing careers that will allow you to live a fulfilling and enjoyable life while simultaneously helping those who need it the most. 

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