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4 Reasons to Start a Traveling Medical Career

Written by: Alex Brown
Published on: Jun 17, 2022


If you are thinking about starting a career as a travel nurse, locum tenens physician, or other traveling healthcare professional, there are many benefits to being on the road you’ll want to consider. Here are four of the top reasons why you might want to start an exciting new traveling medical career.

#1 Higher Pay

As a whole, travel nurses and locum tenens physicians make more per hour than their in-house counterparts. Higher earnings provide you with the ability to reach your financial goals faster, such as paying off school debt, buying a home, or building your savings. Plus, travelling offers a more flexible schedule to work when you want. In fact, some in-house physicians choose to work locum tenens at nearby facilities on weekends or vacations as a side hustle.

#2 Greater Control

Long days, high stress, and a heavy workload are causing burned-out healthcare professionals to re-evaluate their medical careers. Traveling can give you greater control over when, how much, and where you work. Most medical professionals struggle to achieve work-life balance, but traveling physicians and nurses have a much easier time reaching that goal.

The typical travel nurse contract is 13 weeks, while a locum tenens physician’s contract is usually between 30-90 days. During contract breaks, traveling medical professionals can take time off to take vacations, spend time with friends and family, or just take time to decompress. So, travel positions work perfectly for those who don’t want to be burdened by a long-term commitment and desire greater flexibility in their lives.


#3 Variety of Career Experience

You can offer your talent to a wide variety of facilities that need travel nurses, locum tenens physicians and other traveling medical professionals, such as:

  • Community health centers
  • Rural hospitals
  • Urgent cares
  • Big city hospitals
  • University medical facilities

If you aren’t sure where you’d like to work, or you crave new experiences, a travel position is a great way to expose yourself to multiple patient care settings. In addition to new settings, travel nurses and doctors acquire new professional contacts, experiences, and on-the-job skills. This leads to a more robust, diversified career in medicine.

#4 Reduced Workplace Conflicts

Working full-time at one facility means that you often must deal with the same people, leadership, and bureaucratic systems that can quickly get old. Traveling medical jobs allow physicians and nurses to concentrate on what they love most: caring for patients.

The short duration at any location also makes it easier to deal with facilities that may conflict with your working style. Typically, a travel contract lasts anywhere from six weeks to three months before moving to another location, which means medical professionals do not stay anywhere too long. If you find that one facility is not the perfect fit for your working style, your next assignment will be right around the corner. This mindset provides many healthcare professionals with the extra boost to get through long workdays during their contracts.


Due to increased patient volumes, staff turnover, rising physician and nurse shortages, and the pressure to fill those positions, travel nurses and locum tenens physicians are in high demand. For medical professionals struggling with burnout, feeling underpaid, or just needing new scenery, a traveling medical career could be the exciting, fulfilling, and lucrative change you need.


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