Being a travel nurse can be great: visiting new locales, making friends and contacts, gaining diverse experience and growing professionally for handsome pay. But even the most seasoned travel pro might find themselves with extra downtime during assignments—at times a little more then they’d like. So what can you do when R&R lingers and stretches your budget?
It may be the most obvious choice; but given the seemingly endless shortage of nurses and other medical staff in our nation’s hospitals, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find per diem work at local hospitals. Also, depending on your specialty, you might consider organizations a bit off the beaten path that are in need of an extra hand, including retirement, assisted living, and mental health facilities. Broadening your skills and experience can’t hurt. Also: if you already have a new travel assignment lined up, be sure to check in that area, too.
Although it may not bring you any immediate income gains, enrolling in Continuing Education courses might prove a fruitful way to spend your downtime between travel assignments—and it will pay off in the long run. Not only can these courses (also offered by private companies, so be sure to shop around) allow you to maintain licensure; they can help you build your skill and land the best new assignments.
In response to the slowed economy—which unfortunately can sometimes affect travel nurses, too—many states have extended unemployment benefits. If you find yourself without a contract for long periods, consider unemployment benefits as an option. Keep in mind that unemployment benefits are taxable –withholding is optional, not mandatory. Also, the amount of benefit received is added to your total income for the year, which can result in a higher tax bracket.
Being a travel nurse has its pros and cons; but for most, the benefits of flexible schedule, variety of experience, and higher pay are worth the slow times. If you find yourself with downtime, remember: there are many valuable ways you can spend your time! And of course be sure to call MedPro. We offer a variety of outstanding traveling healthcare opportunities.