healthcare professional listening with stethoscope to child on her mother's lap
Travel Nursing Updated May 26, 2023

By the American Mobile team

The Importance of Travel Nurses in Health Care

Travel nursing is a fulfilling career choice for nurses, with benefits ranging from top pay and unlimited adventure to the ultimate career flexibility. It also has a vital role to play in health care delivery, staff retention and improving patient outcomes.

Hospitals and other health care facilities use travel nurses on a temporary basis to fill short-term employment gaps in a wide variety of clinical settings. Whether dealing with staff vacancies or a seasonal influx of patients, travelers are able to step in and help the staff nurses handle patient loads and use their skills where they are needed most.

Why travel nurses are important

Travel nursing provides a solution to staffing fluctuations and regional disparities in nurse supply and demand.

Travel nurses are typically employed by staffing agencies like American Mobile that recruit from across the nation. This provides a wider reach and a deeper pool of talented candidates than a local hospital or regional health system could find on their own. The agency also takes care of nurses’ licensing, credentialing, travel expenses, housing and more.

The team at American Mobile works hard to create a mutually beneficial match with each travel assignment—ensuring that they meet the needs and priorities of the nurse candidate, while also fulfilling the staffing needs of the facility.

Medical facilities across the country are facing a general shortage of nurses, and the shortage is only getting deeper. New research from the 2023 AMN Healthcare Survey of Registered Nurses found 30% of nurses said they were likely to leave their career due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and 18% of nurses reported they were likely to retire.

As facilities work to retain their staff, travelers can help provide some relief in the interim and keep current staff members from feeling overwhelmed or burned out.

How travel nurses impact patient care

Hospitals and other medical facilities cannot afford to be short-staffed. In most hospital units, there are mandatory or suggested nurse-to-patient ratios to maintain for the safety and overall health of patients. Travel nurses help maintain these ratios, while taking pressure off the current staff and improving patient satisfaction.

Research has shown a positive connection between nursing staff levels, nurse retention and measures of patient outcomes. Among the multiple studies showing that fully staffed patient units improve patient care, a May 2022 article in JAMA Health Forum found nurse workload was associated with 60-day mortality rates among patients admitted to an acute care hospital with sepsis.

Landmark research from Linda H. Aiken, PhD, RN, FAAN, and colleagues, reported in The Journal of Nursing Administration, also found “higher levels of RNs in direct patient care, whether permanent or nonpermanent nurses, are associated with lower rates of patient adverse events.”

Travel nurses also contribute their own experience, skills and compassion to each patient interaction, helping to raise the level of patient care.

Benefits of a travel nursing career

  1. The travel. Feeling wanderlust? For nurses who have a desire to experience different cities and states, travel nursing is an excellent career choice. Travel nursing lets you explore different geographical areas and work in various hospitals and clinical settings. Your housing and travel expenses are covered, allowing you to spend your paycheck on exploring your new city and taking advantage of all the area has to offer.
  1. Freedom and flexibility. Travel nursing is one of the most flexible careers available for registered nurses. When you become a travel nurse, you get to choose where you work, when you work and for how long. Typically, travel nursing assignments last for eight to 13 weeks, depending on the needs of the facility. If you would like to stay longer, contracts can be extended in many cases. But if you're not thrilled with a particular assignment, you're not stuck there for long, and will be able to move on in just a few weeks.
  1. Career growth. As a travel nurse, you have the opportunity to bolster your resume by gaining experience in varied work settings. You can learn new skills, get advice from seasoned mentors, gain experience with new technology, and even work with different patient populations. Want an assignment at an academic medical center, a specialty hospital or a community clinic? Your recruiter can work with you to find the professional experience that can take your nursing career to the next level.
  2. Professional and personal connections. Another benefit of travel nursing is meeting new people at every assignment. Not only can you become great friends with staff and fellow travelers, but making connections with a wide range of clinicians and nurse managers is a great networking strategy. You never know when one of your acquaintances could help open doors for you in the future.
  3. A tryout for your next step. Are you interested in trying out a new city as a potential place to settle down? Do you have a certain hospital on your wish list of employers? A travel assignment could be your ticket to spend some time in that city and figure out if it has hometown potential. You can also get your foot in the door and get acquainted with the hiring managers at your assignment facility in case they are looking to add permanent staff.
  4. Additional incentives. While specific incentives vary by travel nursing agency, you can expect to earn an excellent salary while having your housing and travel costs compensated. In fact, American Mobile offers a full suite of benefits, including health insurance, 401(k), free continuing education, bonuses and more.

Thinking about becoming a travel nurse?

If you’re considering travel nursing, we’re here to help! American Mobile has more travel nursing jobs across the country than any other agency, including some exclusive assignments. Our team is also ready to answer your questions, help you get started and guide you through the entire process.

Apply Now

Contact us! We're here to help.

* Indicates Required Fields


By clicking "SUBMIT" I agree to receive emails, automated text messages and phone calls (including calls that contain prerecorded content) from and on behalf of {{site_name}}, its parent, AMN Healthcare, and affiliates. I understand these messages will be to the email or phone number provided, and will be about employment opportunities, positions in which I’ve been placed, and my employment with AMN companies. See privacy policy or cookie policy for more details.