By Sarah Wengert
If you ever feel a little weighed down by the magnitude of effort and care it takes to work in healthcare, one simple, helpful little question is: What’s my “why”? Reconnecting with your purpose can work wonders in the face of a hard day on the job. In fact, this BIG little question has led many an RN and allied health professional to the travel life to work as a travel nurse!
Previously, we featured Medical Solutions travelers who shared why they became healthcare professionals. This month, we wanted to explore why so many healthcare pros decided to take their in-demand skills on the road and start traveling.
As Alyssa Gainer, travel med surg RN, shared in our recent article on how travel nursing benefits clinician mental health, travel nursing was a way for her to keep working as a nurse when she’d considered leaving the field due to burnout and inability to find her niche in a perm role.
“Travel nursing changed my outlook on being a nurse,” she said. “I feel like I’m actually making a difference, and I’m no longer burnt out! I get to take breaks in between assignments, and I cannot express the joy of being a traveler.”
Joy is a common side effect of travel healthcare! As findings from a 2023 Medical Solutions survey of 260 then-travel clinicians indicated, 65% of respondents affirmed their mental health was better since becoming a travel nurse. When asked which aspects of travel nursing they felt contributed to their improved mental health, 90% cited less involvement in workplace politics, 83% cited flexibility to choose jobs/locations, 71% cited better work/life balance and change in environments, 32% attributed the improvement to better support as a travel nurse, and 11% said agency-provided mental health support.
Mental health and reconnecting with their personal “why” are two common motivators for clinicians who decide to travel, but really, there are as many reasons to travel as there are travelers. Let’s hear from a few more folks loving the travel healthcare life!
Katie Noyce, CST/CSFA/CSA
Katie Noyce, a Medical Solutions traveler and member of the Board of Directors Association of Surgical Technologists, said she and her husband Steven travel for the flexibility to take vacations whenever they want. And, while many travel spouses come along for the ride, Steven Noyce, CSFA, is actually on the ride himself!
This travel duo is a husband-wife team that balances their challenging work in healthcare with the freedom and flexibility travel nursing offers.
In addition to the ability to plan their vacations whenever they want, the Noyces, are sure to make the most of all their journeys — whether they’re for business or pleasure.
“We enjoy traveling around the country trying local cuisine, and seeing what our beautiful country has to offer.”
Keep on traveling, dynamic duo!
Lorena T. Richardson, LPN
When Lorena Richardson was just 10 years old, her father passed away. The youngest of 10 children, she felt powerless to care for the man she calls her “hero” to this day. Now, she always thinks of him while working as a nurse.
“Ever since he died, I wanted to be a nurse in order to help others and pay it forward,” she said. “I also remember as a very young child I loved watching movies with nuns taking care of ill people. I thought to myself, maybe someday I could be a nun and take care of the ill. But that didn’t happen!”
Following in her military father’s footsteps, Richardson served 10 years in the U.S. Army before becoming a nurse. Nursing is more than “just a job” to her. She approaches her calling with passion and considers every day a learning experience. Travel nursing further expanded her ability to learn and care for others.
“Starting my nursing career was such an easy decision, and becoming a travel nurse was the best decision I ever made in my nursing career,” she said. “I’ve enjoyed all my workplaces and travel assignments. The patients, nurses, and other members of the hospital environment have helped shape me into becoming the nurse I am.”
Travel nursing also inspires Richardson to be a proud member of every team she joins while on assignment.
“The most important thing I’ve learned on my journey is becoming a nurse involves working as part of a huge team,” she said. “The patient is the central, most important part of that team and should be at the center of any interventions we implement.”
Thanks for being on the Medical Solutions team and so willingly sharing your passion and skill!
Michelle Willis, LTC CNA
You can add Michelle Willis to the long list of travelers thankful they made the leap and tried out life and work on the road. She was called to care as a certified nursing assistant, but the call to travel came from the desire to try something new. While she came for the fresh approach to her career, she’s stayed for the impressive service and benefits. She said she appreciates being able to travel with the proper support from her recruiter and agency.
“I’ve gotten everything from great benefits to communication and respect at Medical Solutions,” she said. “My recruiter goes above, over, and beyond to be sure that I get the best out of all my contracts. I’m so glad I’ve joined the team at Medical Solutions.”
We’re so glad you decided to try travel healthcare!
Sabrina Hernandez, PACU RN
Ever since she started travel nursing, Sabrina Hernandez lovingly calls her family “the traveling circus.” The financial, physical, and mental health of that circus are why she travels.
Hernandez, then in nursing school and fearing failure, was called to care in a dream in which she said she heard a voice saying, “Through him I am.” This mantra and her deep Christian faith absolved her worry, inspired her, and propelled her “financially, spiritually, and emotionally” through her education and beyond.
“My caring hands have been blessed by the Almighty to be an instrument of love and faith in trying times and to those in need,” Hernandez said. “I pray before every shift that I may see and hear through Him, that my heart be open through Him.”
In 2020, Hernandez and her family faced a laundry list of obstacles including a less-than-ideal financial situation, a sick infant, looming bills, broken appliances, and a car wreck that left her and other family members with permanent injuries — all during a pandemic.
“We were constantly stuck in a vicious cycle of ear infections, missed days from work, and a notice of foreclosure on our home,” she said. “Our faith was tried more times than I can remember, and I don’t know what it was that told me to leave but I quit my job, I made my husband quit his job, and we took a travel assignment in Denver, Colorado, with less than $3,000 dollars to our name and months of bills piled up.”
Travel nursing helped turn things around financially for Hernandez.
“I was able to pay back my forbearance on my home and some,” she said. “We were able to spare my one-year-old surgery for Eustachian tubes, I got to provide my family an all-expense paid vacation, and I was able to make my husband’s dreams come true and take him to Lambeau Field to watch his beloved Green Bay Packers play the Chicago Bears via first class. My family and I are doing great — we are alive and healthy, and every day is a blessing! Thanks to Medical Solutions, I can provide for my family and maintain a healthy work-life balance!”
We’re so glad your faith kept you going, and travel is a good fit for you — and your traveling circus!
Why Travel Nursing?
Some of the other common reasons we hear clinicians say they became a travel nurse include:
- Flexibility and control over your schedule
- Avoiding burnout and improving your mental health
- Building your skills and padding your resume
- Freedom from workplace drama and hospital politics
- Higher compensation and/or more perks than a perm staff position
- The ability to see the country, explore, and go on adventures — during and between assignments
- Overall career freedom
- Experiencing various types of facilities like a teaching hospital, for example
- Working with a variety of patient populations
- Using travel to find your dream job then going perm there
- Making enough money to pay off student loans, retire early, or achieve other financial goals
- Taking time off between contracts for leisure travel
- A desire to serve patients where your skills are most needed
- Visiting your “bucket list” cities/states
- Being closer to family and/or friends
- Experiencing a new climate (or avoiding winter indefinitely!)
- And more — there are as many reasons as there are travel nurses
So, why should you travel? Apply today to discover your “why”!
Sarah Wengert is a senior content specialist for Medical Solutions.