Do You Have What It Takes To Be A Travel Nurse?


A love for travel is one thing you must have to make it as a travel nurse.

It seems obvious, but if you do not like flying, than travel nursing is not for you.

Travel nursing comes with different types of assignments.

Some are short, probably less than a week, while others last as long as three to four months.

When I worked as a travel nurse, we did short assignments of four days each week as well as one day travel assignments.

The four-day assignments were in East Africa where we carried out short surgeries for patients in the remote parts of the country.

Other times we did the emergency flights, where we transported critical patients to different hospitals for advanced care. These were one day assignments.

Travel nursing comes with a lot of excitement and anticipation – you never know what you will find waiting for you.

If you have some of the following qualities, then you might consider being a travel nurse.



You have to be someone who loves adventure.

As a travel nurse, you are never sure what to expect.

If you are someone who does not like change and loves routine, then travel nursing may not be for you.

Travel nursing is also not for the newly graduated nurse.

You want to have some experience under your belt from different nursing units, as you will encounter all kinds of medical conditions.



As a travel nurse, you have to enjoy working with all sorts of people.

You will meet a variety of coworkers as you go from hospital to hospital.

Working as a team and getting their support is very important.

If fitting into a new environment and culture is something that you don’t mind doing, this could be a good fit for you.

If you are extremely shy and are always nervous when you meet new people, than this may not be your cup of tea.



You have to be very flexible with your schedule to be a travel nurse.

Sometimes it feels like you are living from suitcase to suitcase.

Your sleep and waking time may change if you are traveling to a place with a different time zone.

Climatic changes are also something you have to be ready to adjust to.

I remember one day leaving Kenya on a hot mid-morning and arriving in Johannesburg when it was so cold.  I was not prepared for that amount of difference in temperature.

I got a bad cold that nearly developed into pneumonia.

I’ve learnt ever since to always double-check what the temperature will be where I am traveling, to avoid making the same mistake.



With constant flights comes jet lag.

Sore feet, sleep deprivation and tiredness come with the assignment.

You can be so exhausted that you do not feel like going for the next assignment.

Learning to overcome jet lag is one of the challenges that you will face.



Travel nursing can be lots of fun, and one of the things I loved was sightseeing.

My favorite site was the migration of animals in East Africa.

Particularly when flying over the Serengeti Plains and the Mara River.

This is a sight to behold when you are up in the air.


If you think you can handle the issues discussed, then you will make a good travel nurse.

For more information about travel nursing you can go to;  or

I would like to hear your thoughts about travel nursing.


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  1. Darryl says:

    Great article! Good international travel nursing companies can offer some exciting job placements. I have always liked to take my own car or be within good public transportation when out of the country.

    • Joyce says:

      I agree with you absolutely.

  2. J. Ann says:

    Hi Joyce, this is a great article about international travel nursing. However, I think that those nurses that would like to travel domestically would be fine not flying. Actually, many travel nurses prefer to drive to their assignment. Just letting them know that if they don’t like to fly, there is still hope to enjoy this awesome career in the US!

    • Joyce says:

      Thanks Ann for pointing this out.
      I agree that if one can drive to their assignment, that would be great for those who do not like flying.