There are roughly 2.8 million registered nurses in this country, and almost 81 thousand are registered in Kentucky. While that seems like a lot of people, these professionals divide their time between nursing homes, medical centers, hospitals, and various other locations where medical help is necessary. Nurses are the backbone of the medical community, and doctors couldn’t function without their professional expertise.
This job requires grueling hours, an emotional backbone as well as physical strength. Many people choose travel nursing for the vast benefits and financial compensation, but how is it to be a travel nurse during a pandemic? Well, when you add traveling and a pandemic to the mix, it’s a lot to consider.
Advantages of Being A Travel Nurse in Kentucky
Travel nursing is appealing to many people who want to get out there and see the sights. Being stuck in a facility with the same old routine can become mundane. Traveling gives you a chance to meet new and exciting people, see how other hospitals work things, and to experience something that you never thought possible.
What are the advantages of being a nurse on the road during a time such as this? Here are a few things to consider.
1. The Pay is Phenomenal
One of the reasons why many people turn to travel nursing is because of pay. Most nurses are making way more than they ever dreamed possible, just by going to a facility far from home. The average wage in this country for a travel nurse is around $2,000 a week.
Now, it all depends on the agency you select and the demands of the job. Now add all the overtime and extra benefits to that, and you can make some serious change.
2. Your Travel Area Doesn’t Have to Be Far
If you think that you need to fly across the country to get good money and perks, you would be wrong. Here in Kentucky and in other states, you only need to travel an average of 50 miles from home to fit into the “radius rule.” Technically, you can drive an hour away from your home and still get the fantastic benefits of these positions. Each agency that hires travel nurses in Kentucky has protocols for mileage, but 4-200 miles is about the radius rule’s average.
3. You Have A Lot of Jobs to Choose From
During a pandemic, the job market is flooded with positions, and they often pay more because there is little help. Nurses that you will be assisting are exhausted and may live-in high-risk areas where COVID-19 has hit harder.
In Kentucky, there are many opportunities in Louisville, Lexington, Berea, and Ashland. Not to mention the smaller cities that need help.
4. Southern Hospitality Welcomes You
While there are days that you may feel like nursing is a thankless job, you get to be an essential part of this historical event. You will meet people from all walks of life and even have the possibility to make friendships that can last a lifetime. You will find the people of Kentucky welcoming, and the Southern hospitality is undoubtedly alive and well in this area.
5. You Can Be Flexible
Unlike traditional nursing jobs, travel nursing can be quite flexible. Each assignment is different, so you have many options. You can choose a career with high pay and bonuses, paid housing, meal allotments, travel reimbursements, health, dental, vision, and life insurance.
You know what you need, and you can find a job that accommodates those needs. Plus, you can work on one assignment, take a month or two off to rest, and then start again.
Disadvantages of Being a Travel Nurse in Kentucky
While the list above makes traveling nursing seem like a dream job, there’s more to it than good pay and benefits. There are some significant downsides to working during a pandemic that you should consider.
1. You’re at A Higher Risk of Contracting COVID-19
Since the world is in the middle of this pandemic, you could work on the front lines of some of the busiest and most hit hospitals in the state. So, the risk of you catching Covid is greater. Even with the personal protection methods in place, your chances are higher.
2. The Hospitals Could Be Short Staffed
The hospitals you will work in need help, which is why they are willing to pay so much to get you. They are experiencing an influx of patients, a shortage of staff, or all the above. It can be quite chaotic to work under those circumstances, so it’s not a stress-free job.
3. You’re Always the New Kid on The Block
Some people feel apprehensive about switching jobs as you have those first day of work jitters as you’re the new kid on the block. Most of the folks there already have been in place for a while, so you’re coming into something already established.
You may feel lonely the first few days or weeks, especially since you’re away from your home. Thankfully, the feeling of being a “fish out of water” will pass in time.
4. Every Hospital Has Different Protocols
No two hospitals are the same. In Kentucky and around the globe, every hospital does things differently. You need to be able to hit the ground running and learn as you go. You must be a fast learner that is willing to take constructive criticism. Some hospitals are more advanced, while others seem like they’re in a time warp. You need to know how to go with the flow.
5. You’re Away from Your Home
Unless you pull an RV and live on the road, which some people do, you won’t get to sleep in your bed. Thankfully, you can go home when the job is completed. If you have a family that you won’t get to see for weeks or months, then it can make having a position on the road more difficult.
Final Thoughts on Travel Nursing
Many people choose travel nursing for a short period, and it’s a great time to make some extra money. You can pay off bills, buy a new home, or put back some serious cash for a rainy day. While having a pocket full of money is a great thing, there are many downsides to this type of position that you must consider.
Sadly, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, and they’re paying you so much because the need is great and the risks immense. Is being a travel nurse for you?