Travel Nursing Has Been the Best Decision I’ve Made in My Career. Here’s Why.

Instead of “following your passion”, find a job that suits your personality.

Photo by the author.

This time last year, I pledged to myself to leave nursing and never go back.

I quit around November of 2021 as an Emergency nurse in a local hospital in Toronto. I got burnt out and decided to travel one way to Dominican Republic.

But during my stay there, I knew that I wasn’t fully done with nursing.

A part of me knew that there were bad things about the nursing profession (like any other), but there were things I still loved about the profession. I loved the flexible scheduling, not thinking about work after hours, and doing one-on-one care with people.

So after six months of leaving nursing, I decided to become a travel nurse in a local hospital about 3 hours away from Toronto.

I jumped into the experience thinking it would be my farewell to the profession so that years later, I don’t look back at my life and think, “I wonder what my life would’ve looked like if I did travel nursing?”

I don’t do regrets.

It’s been almost six months, and I’m on my third travel nursing assignment, and it’s honestly been one of the decisions I’ve made in my professional nursing career.

You get paid what you (nearly) deserve

When I started my first travel nursing job, I got paid 40% more than in my previous nursing job.

I was ecstatic to see that increase. These days, I’m almost getting paid triple my original rate as a travel nurse in a reserve indigenous community.

For the first time in my nursing career, I feel that the compensation for my work is fair.

Back home, we got paid peanuts for the job of 3 people.

As a nurse in Toronto, I did the work of a health care aide (someone who will feed you, change you and bathe you), a registered nurse (my actual job), and laboratory technicians (the ones that take your blood work or do your ECG).

I don’t have a problem doing the jobs of 3 people. But I would’ve loved to see that reflected in my pay.

On top of working three roles, I had to deal with stressed management, families, and colleagues. There were tons of physical and verbal abuse that made me reluctant to go to work.

As a travel nurse, I’ve been exposed to different facilities and how they use different resources. Most of the time, the travel nurse works as a nurse (and nothing else), and the other parts of the healthcare system are delegated to other people.

So I don’t feel as burnt out even though I’m working the same amount of shifts.

You get to reflect on your life

If you’re traveling alone as a nurse (without your partner or family), you spend a lot of time alone.

It’s a chance for me to reflect on how far I’ve come, where I want to go, and if I’m doing my best to live the best possible life. As a nurse back home, you don’t have much time for reflection.

Because of your stressful and tiring shifts, you want to spend as much fun on your days off partying and doing superficial self-care.

But because I’m mostly on-the-go, I have a lot of time to think, and I get to listen to my intuition.

I have more room for creativity.

I’m currently on a 4-week assignment, and after 2 days of being here, I already feel light because of the inner work I’ve been doing. There’s not much to do in my area, so I take this opportunity to grow and be creative.

If you’re craving for a time when you can develop listening to yourself, it’s one of the perks of being alone as a travel nurse.

You travel for work, so you can travel for fun

When I wanted to become an online entrepreneur, it was mostly because I wanted to work abroad or anywhere in the world.

To be honest, I still do, but I haven’t found the right job for me to do that just yet.

So instead of becoming a digital nomad as a freelance whatever, I decided to settle for travel nursing for now. After all, I still get to see new places, get paid well, meet cool people, and learn something new about myself every time.

As a digital nomad without a stable job, you’d struggle while traveling.

When you’re traveling, you’d be worrying about how to get clients, and when you’re working, you’d be wishing you were outside.

You’re never fully enjoying the present.

But as a travel nurse, I can take weeks, if not months, off to support myself because I worked hard in the months I had to work.

It reminds me of what Naval Ravikant, a Sillicon Valley angel investor, said, “work like a lion and not like a cow.”

Here’s what he means:

“The way people tend to work most effectively, especially in knowledge work, is to sprint as hard as they can while they feel inspired to work and then rest. They take long breaks. It’s more like a lion hunting and less like a marathoner running. You sprint and then you rest. You reassess and then you try again. You end up building a marathon of sprints.

Travel nursing is like working like a lion.

Final Thoughts

Before becoming a travel nurse, I truly believed I was done with the profession.

But I realized that until I can figure out what to do with my life, I’ll do my best to take advantage of the time and experience I’ve accumulated to my benefit.

On my time off, like today, I’m sitting in the dining room sharing this knowledge with you without worrying if I’ll get paid for my writing.

I feel free to pursue my creative pursuits, and I hope that you find that kind of job too.

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