Torn between travel nursing and where I'm at now


I have 3 years Med/Surg, 3 years ICU, and now I'm in PACU and I love it! I have just been promoted as Charge Nurse after being there for 8 months and I still love it. Being in charge entails responsibilities and let's be honest, some politics too.

Anyhow, travel nursing came to mind recently.

After doing the math, I'd be making $10K more if I stay where I work now and still able to keep all my benefits intact. I have a list of PROs and CONs in mind.



- Travel to different parts of the country per assignment.

- Meet new people. No attachment.

- Make non taxed income


- Learn new hospital policies and computer system.

- Pay rental while maintaining my mortgage. I don't wanna give up my house since it will be my home base when waiting for the next assignment.

- Possibility of getting floated to other units. I don't like being floated.



- I'm comfortable with the system

- I'm familiar with the policies and procedures of the hospital

- My house is only 5 miles away from work. It works perfectly when I'm on call.

- Opportunity to pick up extra shifts to other units that I like. I have a choice.


- I have to deal with newly promoted managers from other units who do not have a clue of what they're doing. Although this is unavoidable in all hospitals. There will always be that one person who will f*ck it up for you.

I guess after writing this down, I'm no longer torn on my decision. I'm leaning towards staying at my current hospital. I'll just suck it up and toughen it out. I'm giving myself another 4 years in this current hospital to lower my home loan then I can go wherever I want.

Feel free to comment.

Thank you!


1 Article; 5,766 Posts


- Learn new hospital policies and computer system.

Policies are similar enough between assignments not to matter. Practice, patient flow, communication will be different but usually easy for PACU.

- Pay rental while maintaining my mortgage. I don't wanna give up my house since it will be my home base when waiting for the next assignment.

That's a plus. You don't get tax free compensation without this tax home. Get a roommate to look after the place and help contribute to your mortgage.

- Possibility of getting floated to other units. I don't like being floated.

Most assignments will not float PACU nurses. Sometimes to preop depending on unit organization

Missed travel benefit that appears to be beneficial to you: no politics. If there is a personality conflict, it is only for three months! Also no committees and meetings.

Also, it is really difficult to compare staff pay to travel. There was an astonishing difference in how much I could bank when I started traveling, but that was many years ago and I had Southern US pay. It just wasn't subject to accurate financial analysis. If you live in a high pay area, then staff pay and particularly benefits may well be better. I currently live in the Midwest and make three times or so more than I could make at home.

One good way to look at it is to compare staff to per diem. More cash for per diem but no benefits. That is the same for travel. Often a good way to pay down your mortgage quicker than you can do as staff.

8-ball, BSN

286 Posts

Specializes in ICU, and IR. Has 13 years experience.

Lack of benefits is a major expense for me. my wife and I pay almost $700/month for crappy insurance. Also not to scare you but the new tax law could dramatically effect the tax free compensation. Also having a house sit empty can cause its own headache (break-ins, repair, lawn care, what if a pipe breaks do you have someone to take care of things while your gone). We ended up selling our home after 1 year d/t a series of events which cost of a good bit. Now having said all that, I am a travel nurse and have been going on 2 years. The big issue is the money just isn't there anymore. I barely make enough to get by these days and rely heavily on OT. Right now im in CA and the staff nurses make about $70/hr with benefits while I make $35/hr taxed and my stipend is $900/wk tax free. You would think that is really good but rent here is $2200/month or more. In San Fran i turned down a job becasue I couldn't find housing under $3500/month. Im not saying don't do it but I am saying its not as great as it used to be and I am considering other options problem is at this point I have to start at the bottom againwith my seniority wherever I go.


1,221 Posts

Specializes in Peri-Op. Has 10 years experience.

You just have to be picky with your assignments, not based on location but based on money. I go where the money is because thats my driving force for travelling.

If you want the location, you take whatever they are paying.