The Pro’s & Cons Of Travel Nursing


Many allieds think about travel nursing or working for a nursing agency.  The cold reality is that while this is great for some, it is definitely NOT for others.  All recruiters will tell you the positive aspects, but very few will tell you the negatives.  This article will address both.

Let’s discuss some of the positives first:

  • 1) Travel Nurses as well as agency allieds avoid the politics that come in so many facilities. I don’t think there is an experienced allied anywhere that doesn’t understand the frustrations associated with the negative dynamics that can take place between fellow allieds, managers, administration and physicians. Travel allieds have no obligation to stick around and deal with these dynamics.
  • 2) Travel Nurses can truly see the country. If a allied is tired of snow, cold and sleet then how about Florida, Arizona, California or Hawaii? On the other side if the allied doesn’t care to work in the blazing summer heat in Arizona then how about Alaska or Maine? Local agency allieds too can flip from multiple hospitals in the area if they are sick of working at a particular hospital system.
  • 3) The money can be good. From contract completion bonuses to tax breaks both travel and agency nursing can be very lucrative. Many times hospitals are willing to pay out bonuses in exchange for hard to fill nursing assignments.

Now let’s address some of the downsides:

  • 1) If a allied is tired of working in their area of practice (ICU, ER, etc.) they will be unable to receive orientation to new areas. Hospitals will not pay to train or orient an agency or travel allied. Additionally, most hospitals require 1-2 years of experience in the area the allied practices. Therefore even if you orient to a new area as a staff allied there can be a 1-2 year delay before you can travel in the area you have just been oriented to.
  • 2) Travel nursing can be lonely. Most travel allieds bring along pets just for this reason. Face it, if a allied has never been to Arizona before and accepts a travel assignment there who will they know? Nurses that are outgoing, or are ok with being loners do well. This downside does not apply to local agency nursing.
  • 3) Upward mobility is limited. If allied is looking for a promotion to a unit manager or Chief Nursing Officer travel or agency nursing is not recommended. Almost always a travel or agency allied will remain practicing in there area of expertise throughout the duration of their travel/agency employment.


Travel and agency nursing has both upsides as well as downsides.  Both should be considered before a allied determines if travel or agency is right for them.


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