Big life changes can be daunting, especially when it comes to life-altering decisions, like switching from a permanent healthcare role to a professional healthcare traveler. How do you know you’re ready? When’s the best time to make the change? What does the future have in store for you? Sure, it’s nerve-wracking, but also often worth it.
When you’ve checked off these six signs, you’ll know you’re prepared to abandon the life of a permanent staff member and embark on the travel journey of a lifetime.
No. 1: You crave more
When you plant your professional roots in a single facility, you’re usually limited to a handful of patients in one unit. This type of working environment can provide a sense of monotony and predictability that won’t keep you on your toes or challenge you.
On the other hand, travel healthcare workers have the unique advantage of gaining professional experience in general healthcare clinics, outpatient centers, emergency hospital units, labor and delivery wards, long-term care facilities, clinical labs, and more.
Experienced travel nurse, Blake, said his favorite part of his travel career is the “ability to gain experience by working in different facilities” across the country. “It’s a great way to gain life experiences without having to commit to one area permanently,” said Blake.
With each travel job comes a new opportunity to satisfy your craving for a deeper understanding of patient care and overall healthcare. So, if you’ve ever found yourself wanting more healthcare experience in a variety of settings, it may be time for you to bid adieu to your perm job and join the travel life.
No. 2: You don’t have time for petty politics
Your time is precious as a healthcare professional. You don’t have time for petty office politics but escaping it can be difficult when you work with the same colleagues day in and day out. Even if you don’t engage in the rumors, being surrounded by that kind of negativity still takes a toll on your body and mind.
As a professional healthcare traveler, you only spend a maximum of 13 weeks in an assignment, so you’re not there long enough to get caught up in the unit’s drama.
Lisa, traveling medical lab technologist (MLT), was a perm staff employee for more than 25 years. Lisa said: “I became disenchanted with administrative drama and low company morale. Once my kids became adults and I was single, the time was right for adventures. I have never regretted my decision, not even once.”
Sonographer, Juanice, worked for 23 years in the same healthcare institute when she decided to leap into travel. She said: “Things just changed so much admin wise. I was miserable and my husband gave me the okay to quit, so I started traveling two years ago. I’ve never been happier.”
No. 3: There’s no room to grow
After the amount of time, work, and energy that went into landing a career in healthcare, it would be an injustice if there’s no way for you to grow as a professional. This can sometimes happen when you work in a permanent position due to poor management and low morale.
Travel nurse, Allison, is familiar. She made the tough decision to quit her perm job for travel and said: “I was too comfortable and didn’t feel like I was growing as a person or a nurse. Travel seemed like the best option to achieve that goal.”
Not only are bonuses and promotions hard to come by in the permanent healthcare profession, but employees can also hit the top of their pay range leaving them with no room for financial or professional growth.
Unfortunately, long-term care (LTC) licensed practical nurse (LPN), Karen, has first-hand experience with this situation. She said: “I worked at one facility for over 22 years before I traveled. I needed to pay for college for my son and I hadn’t gotten a raise due to being topped out in the pay scale.”
Regardless of the division or specialty, healthcare travelers usually earn more than perm staff since there are more expenses to account for such as housing, food, licensing, and continued education requirements.
“I was perm staff for as little as possible,” said traveling MLT, Lee. “Then quit traveling to take ap erm job again for about six months. Quickest mistake realization of my life. The crushing prospect of permanent spot monotony, having to be involved in hospital and lab politics again, and being expected to cover every mismanaged shift. All at half the pay.”
In fact, LTC aide, John, said travel pay is the “most he’s made in healthcare ever!”
Ditch the mediocre paychecks you’ve become accustomed to and revel in a salary that you’ve rightfully earned.
No. 4: You operate outside the box
If you want to be a professional healthcare traveler, it’s time to break free and work outside the box. Healthcare travel isn’t only patient care, it’s also an exclusive opportunity to meet new people inside and outside of the healthcare community and collect knowledge from admirable professionals in and outside of your field.
Norma, traveling medical lab specialist (MLS), was looking for just that when she decided to leave her perm job. “I love what I do,” she said. “I was ready to get out of the box, but still do the same thing so I decided to try travel! I love meeting new people and learning new things and now I do what I love.”
Travel nurse, Pam, just started traveling this year after being a perm nurse for over 20 years. She started close to home and looks forward to more assignments where she can “meet new people, see new places, and learn new ways to be a better nurse.”
Working in one facility gives you enhanced knowledge over specific policies and procedures but doesn’t allow for more versatile experiences with healthcare institutions, patients, or mentors.
No. 5: You want to take charge
There are few things worse than not feeling in control of your own life. Unlike travelers, perm staff members are less likely to be in control of their work schedule, life balance, or professional career. When you choose the travel life, you’re in the driver’s seat so you get to decide why, how, when, and where you work.
LTC certified nursing assistant (CNA), Eddie, took the reins and ventured outside his home state. “I was permanent staff for six years before I took off on the road,” he said. “All I knew was Florida. I never traveled outside of Florida for longer than a few days and I always wanted to explore and see new places. I got the chance and never looked back.”
It’s not always easy to leave your perm role. Traveling home health nurse, Denda, adored her full-time job in the Veteran Affairs (VA) Healthcare System. “It was a very hard decision to leave the VA for traveling,” she said. “Being more in control of my own work/life schedule was the main reason for my switch, but I also love to travel to different places!”
“Since becoming a traveler, I love that I have control of my schedule and have a recruiter to manage issues,” said LTC LPN, Victoria. “And now that my kids are grown and out of the house, I look forward to being able to schedule contracts near each of them in Washington, California, and New Mexico without having to beg management for time off.”
As a traveler, you have full control of your healthcare career so you can create the lifestyle you love and deserve.
No. 6: You fantasize about the places you could go
Did you know there are nearly 20,000 incorporated cities throughout the 50 United States? Imagine the places you could go.
New York City, Las Vegas, Maui—oh my! Experience life as a healthcare traveler in the city of your dreams and enjoy your free time living like a local. No matter where your travel contract takes you, there’s always new friends to make and sights to see.
April, a traveling LTC LPN, was permanent staff for 19 years before joining the travel life. She said that after her kids grew up and moved away, travel nursing became the perfect way for April to fill her days.
“There are so many beautiful places in this country that I have only seen pictures of,” she said. “Now I get to experience it. I’m glad I have a job that lets me do this.”
Fellow LTC LPN traveler, Gin, used healthcare travel to propel her towards professional success and overall satisfaction. After eight years of perm, Gin was ready for a change and left everything behind to begin a new life.
“Since starting this adventure, I’ve met some amazing people, seen beautiful places, and seen nursing from so many aspects that it’s mind blowing,” she said. “I go to work, but I make sure to see the sights and make friends and memories every place I go.”
It’s exhausting to be in a career where your desires and needs aren’t met. Instead of settling for another perm position, try healthcare travel, and visit someplace on your bucket list.
Find your travel job with Fusion Marketplace
Of course, there are details to be worked out before you can dive into the deep end of healthcare travel. Fusion Marketplace is an online one stop shop for healthcare travelers in every division and specialty. Whether you’re searching for your very first or 100th travel assignment, Fusion Marketplace makes the unknowns known with complete transparency and visibility into all you need to know to land a first-rate travel job.
Through a personal profile, travelers gain exclusive access to top-quality healthcare placements, plus enhanced visibility so you can compare job pay packages, locations, benefits, and more. Assignment preferences can be submitted and saved within your traveler profile, so you never have to worry about reinventing the wheel or repeating information.
House all your important information—credentials, licenses, references, etc.—in one secure location and get used to a more effective way to job search.
If you’re on the fence about leaving your perm healthcare job, consider these six signs, and you may be ready to quit. Don’t wait around for a promotion or raise that could never come and instead, take the power back. You’re in control of your future—what will you do next?