TAMPA, Fla. - Traveling nurses fill crucial staffing shortages at hospitals across the country while pursuing their passion for adventure.
Soralla Gonzalez is on her way to making house calls, but instead of working day to day in a hospital or medical center, she hits the open road as a travel home health nurse.
"It starts with the night before where I schedule my visits for the next day and then I just head out and start seeing patients," said Gonzalez.
She said this career choice is giving her autonomy.
"I have more control over my life and more freedom," Gonzalez explained.
Staffing agency Ardor Health Solutions works with travel nurses like Gonzalez.
"We place clinicians on assignment for approximately 13 weeks. Typically, a home-health nurse will see about 6-7 patients per day. She's a great example of how you can get into the travel industry but not necessarily have to travel that far from your home," shared Stephanie Saltzgaver of Ardor Health Solutions.
Some take this career route for new adventures.
"We have a lot of people who do this because they want to see the country. You could go from Florida to California if you wanted to. It's really kind of up to you.
Being in the travel world you actually have full access to benefits as if you were a permanent nurse on assignment", said Saltzgaver.
There are other perks as well.
"Originally, I would say it was very money-based. There's just a lot more money in travel staffing than there is in being a perm employee. There's a great tax benefit. The government allows us to give tax-free money to all these clinicians, incentivizing them to kind of travel away from their homes. But now I really think it's more of a lifestyle change for a lot of people. You know they enjoy not being permanent staff. They like being able to pick up and go different places every 13 weeks," said Saltzgaver.
Travel nurses can fill a void at hospitals when needed.
"For example, when the pandemic happened, there was a nursing shortage. People couldn't keep up with the amount of patients coming in. So what these hospital systems will do is they'll hire travel nurses to kind of fill a gap to help the staff nurses that are overworked, unable to take a vacation, stuff like that, so they really come in and save the day on the back end", said Saltzgaver.
Gonzalez said it's a job that allows her to take care of herself while taking care of others.
"I always tell patients and other nurses that you're the most important person in your life and if you don't take care of your own mental health then how are you going to take care of anybody else", said Gonzalez.
LINK: For more information about travel nurses, visit https://www.ardorhealth.com/travel-nurse-overview/.