Trying to decide your career path as a newly-minted healthcare professional can often feel overwhelming. You likely want to gain diverse experiences and explore different locations while advancing your career. The options seem endless, and the stakes feel high to make the “right” choice. Where do you even begin?
Travel healthcare opportunities allow you to have the best of both worlds. You'll find professional growth and personal adventure. As a Traveler, you can discover new clinical settings, specialties, and places to call home before committing long-term.
Read on to learn more about the exciting career path that awaits you as a traveling healthcare professional.
Exploring Career Options
Working as a travel healthcare provider allows you to diversify your skillset and try out different work environments. You can take assignments in multiple specialties to identify your best fit. You can also select job opportunities in whichever state interests you or seems most adventurous.
Travelers gain exposure to diverse hospital cultures and management styles. On one assignment, you may work independently alongside experienced physicians. On the next, you could be mentored closely as part of an interdisciplinary team. These unique experiences will expand your perspectives, skillset, and capabilities.
Discovering the Right Location
Imagine living in different regions around the country and discovering new locales that align with your lifestyle. As a Traveler, you can experience the bustling energy of a city hospital or the intimate community of a rural health center.
You’ll meet healthcare providers from all backgrounds while learning the nuances of delivering care across diverse populations. Along the way, pay attention to the places that feel like home - those will be prime options later for permanent positions. Traveling in healthcare allows you to try on different locations before committing long-term.
Not only does travel nursing advance your career, but it also brings attractive salaries and benefits. Travelers earn competitive pay, often significantly higher per hour than permanent staff, with bonuses and stipends for housing and mileage.
You can deposit most compensation directly into savings without covering major relocation or moving costs. This builds a healthy financial foundation for things like education debt repayment, retirement funds, or future home down payments. Traveling puts you in control of investments and long-term planning.
Frequent Change and Adaptability
To thrive as a Traveler, having an adaptable personality is key. Every assignment involves new protocols, EMR systems, organizational hierarchies, and personalities. While change can be exhausting for some, the ability to walk into unfamiliar hospitals and confidently deliver care is a skill that will serve you well throughout your career.
Building connections and community can be difficult when you only stay put for 8-26 weeks. Prioritizing engagement with colleagues and leaning into each location can make travel more rewarding.
Finding the Right Agency and Assignments
As a newly qualified graduate, do your homework when researching travel healthcare agencies to find one that best fits your needs. Be prepared to interview and negotiate salaries, benefits packages, stipends, mileage reimbursements, and bonuses.
Also, look for any red flags that indicate an agency or facility to potentially avoid. For example, be wary of vague or inconsistent details about pay and benefits, poor communication, or lack of responsiveness from recruiters.
Tips for Finding the Perfect Fit as a Traveling Healthcare Professional
If you feel aligned with the Traveler mindset of adaptability, curiosity, and independence, use the following tips to find the ideal fit.
Maintaining Stability and Support
To sustain energy and enthusiasm as a Traveler, establishing go-to routines can provide comfort amidst the changes. Connect frequently with a community of fellow Travelers, family, and friends who ground you.
Stay committed to essential self-care, whether hitting the gym, calling close friends, or writing in a journal. Also, don’t underestimate the emotional toll of uprooting your life repeatedly, which can lead to burnout. Building relationships with mentors teaches you how to thrive in this lifestyle, so you can grow professionally without sacrificing your wellbeing.
Start by defining what success looks like for you in healthcare and life before pursuing travel. Determine key priorities when evaluating job opportunities, whether pay, location, facility reputation, specialty, schedule flexibility, or culture. Also, reflect on your comfort with constant change and transitional living. Knowing your own values, interests, and deal breakers is essential.
Making the Most of Assignments
Approach each contract as a focused learning experience—not just a paycheck. Observe the workflows of high-functioning teams and ask questions about the “why” behind processes. Seek mentorship from providers who model exceptional patient care and leadership skills.
Tend to your own growth by actively engaging in training and completing certifications between contracts. Determine what knowledge and connections from each place could strengthen your practice long-term. Having a long-term “living career roadmap” can help keep you on track.
Plan for the Future
Use the experiences you gain from travel to shape your 5- or 10-year plan. Document the regional laws and hospital policies you find most aligned with operationally. Take note of locales where you feel happiest personally and professionally. Build a strong resume showcasing the well-rounded skill set and novel experiences you accrued through traveling.
Be diligent about financial planning, making savvy decisions about insurance, loan repayment, retirement funds, and home-buying goals. With mindful preparation, your time as a Traveler will equip you to transition smoothly into permanent positions and life’s next chapter.
Take the Next Step to Start an Exciting Career
Being a traveling healthcare professional allows curious, growth-minded providers to discover unique opportunities while designing careers they’re passionate about. Committing to frequent change and new surroundings requires resilience but offers immense rewards in return.
Anders Group specializes in helping travel healthcare professionals find the right job fit. Our caring recruiters treat Travelers as people first—not just candidates on paper. We take the time to get to know you and understand what matters most in your life and career. Take the next step by contacting us below for more information.
Contact us now to learn more about these amazing job opportunities that will allow you to see the country and grow your career in new and exciting directions.