Becoming a Wandering Nurse Could Change your Life Forever!

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Many RNs choose to pursue wandering nurse jobs as opposed to the traditional choice of working in one hospital because for a few reasons. These jobs are very attractive for nurses who love traveling and exploring different parts of the country and the world while furthering their career as a nurse and helping others.

The best travel nurse jobs offer higher compensation, along with many allowances provided for additional travel and housing. If you’re considering moving to a career as a wandering nurse, it’s good to learn more about Wandering Nurses options and their benefits.

Wandering Nurse Options for Best Jobs

Most of the wandering nurses opt for a position where they work for roughly 13-week period at a time. Placements can be anywhere in the world and may depend upon the exact nature and needs of the location. After one assignment, the wandering nurse moves on to the next location.

Traveling nurse optionsThen there are short term assignments that can occur due to a major health crises or outbreak of disease, or because of a strike or other reasons. In these situations, nurses may be required for a short period of time. They are sometimes called rapid response nurses, highly important in crises situations.

Agency and registry nurses work for group of hospitals or just one hospital in any area and are defined by very short notice they’re often given. Sometimes it is non-existent or maybe one month in advance. This type of job may not have predefined length of stay and nurses know where they’ll be next, and being a wandering nurse can expect a higher compensation.

Wandering nurses can also work as an independent contractor, which is not very widely done in this field. These nurses interface directly with the hospital HR departments but may not have access to company benefits such as worker’s compensation, health insurance or vacation days. You may also have to pay tax on your earnings but in any case you will be working for yourself.

High-Demand Nursing Specialties

Besides different types of best travel nurse jobs,  there are many specialties that may require travel nurses. Some of these specialties include occupational health, ICU,NICU, OR and rehabilitation.

Perks of Being a Travel Nurse

For a wandering nurse the world is a big place, and there are few jobs that allow you to see so many different parts of the world. The nurses who choose this career path may travel from assignment to assignment, usually spending few weeks to a year at one place. Let’s have a close look at some benefits of being a wandering nurse.

High Pay Potential

traveling nurse | better salaryAs a wandering nurse, you can expect a higher rate of pay than most of the permanent employees on the staff. You may travel to locations that have higher demand for wandering nurses.

You will receive higher pay for a shorter job. Usually traveling nurses get $45 per hour or about $70,000 a year.

Free Travel

A wandering nurse can see dozens of locations around the world without spending a dime. All travel related expenses are borne by your employer or travel nursing agencies. They will even pay for your housing and will be given  a stipend for food. So you won’t have to worry about buying plane tickets, paying for hotels and having some extra money for food and fun.

You Can Take Family and Friends Along

Traveling can be a fun if you can take your companion with you and share in your adventures. If your family member or friend is also a wandering nurse, you can set up an arrangement where you can travel together, stay in the same apartment or work together at a hospital or two hospitals nearby each other.


Many travel nurse agencies pay referral bonuses (when you refer other nurses) and contract bonuses to registered wandering nurses. These can range between $400 and $10,000. Depending upon your company, you will receive your bonus upfront or after completion of the contract.

Medical Benefits

Wandering nurses can also look forward to full medical and dental benefits. Your hospital will also supply you with professional malpractice insurance as well. Therefore, you won’t have to spend sleepless nights about any malpractice incidents while you’re on the job. Your agency has you covered.

Flexible Schedule

Wandering nurses | flexible scheduleOnce you have one of the best travel nurse jobs on hand, you can look forward to a flexible schedule. If you want to explore a beautiful location for few weeks or have just two months to spare, you can easily apply for jobs that meet your needs.

If you want to attend some function at home or catch up with old friends, you can take as much time off as you want before you apply for your next wandering nurse job. For instance, in summers you can apply for a position in Alaska, and in winters you can try for a stint in Florida, especially if you need some sand in your toes!


When you work in some hospitals in some states, you may need uniforms and new certifications. That can sometimes get expensive if you’re doing several per year. Most agencies will quickly reimburse you for the cost of uniforms and new licenses. If reimbursement is important for you, you need to enquire about the companies reimbursement policy before you sign on the dotted lines.

Develop Skills

When you work as a travel nurse, you can expect to work at variety of different hospitals around the country. This way, you can learn a whole new skill-set by traveling to one of the most prestigious and well-funded medical facilities in the country. This will help you apply for best positions and make incredible money while doing it.

Search for that Perfect Location

One of the best things about a wandering nurse is that you do not have to spend years wandering from one place to other. During your travel, you can find a city that is perfect for you or a hospital that’s ultimate culture fit. If that happens, you also have a option to stay there and make it your permanent home.

Retirement Plans

wandering nurse | retirement plansBeing a nurse is definitely a tough job, and once you reach your retirement age, you need to be able to settle down without worrying about anything. Most agencies now offer 401K plan when you travel for them.

As you won’t be paying anything for travel and housing, you can put aside good money into your 401k. You can also put in some of your high paying bonuses into your 401K plan. With this, you could easily have the highest paying 401k of anyone you know.


Whether you love a job that’s constantly changing and is fast paced, are looking for a better paying opportunity, or want to explore new climates, wandering nurse jobs can be a great career move. Once you decide on pursuing this career, examine all types of wandering nurse jobs so that you can easily understand all the benefits and possible downsides. Whichever one of these wandering nurse options you choose, you can expect a rewarding, exciting, and character-building experience of a lifetime!

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Cheryl Roby, RN

Cheryl J. Roby is a Registered Nurse and retired US Army Reserve Nurse Major. She has more than 30 years of nursing experience and 26 years of military experience in the Army Nurse Corp. During her nursing career, she has traveled as part of her military experience visiting many of the 50 states and to South Korea. She was trained as an Army Medic during the Vietnam era and later as an OR tec. She went on to become a Licensed Practical Nurse and then completed her nursing training as a Registered Nurse. She was then commissioned as an officer in the Army Reserves. She appreciated the challenge of working in various specialties and expanding her clinical and professional skill sets. Her time in the Army Reserves and California National Guard gave her the opportunity to travel to most of the 50 states and work in other medical facilities. During her career, she had the opportunity to work in several specialties to include, OR, Occupational Health, Hospice, Sexual Assault Team, Forensic/ Correctional Nurse, Nurse Case Manager for developmental disabilities, Parish Nursing as well as a Nurse Entrepreneur.

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