What motivates travel nurses? Mostly money, survey finds

Others cited freedom and flexibility as their motivator

What is travel nursing?

Travel nurses have seen a decline in pay this year, but money is still the main motivator for many of these health care providers.

According to Nomad Health’s Job Satisfaction Index, which surveyed travel nurses last month, 76% of respondents said they repeatedly seek these positions because of money and the ability to earn enough to meet financial goals.

Although these health care professionals were raking in up $10,000 a week during the pandemic’s peak, that dropped to an average of about $3,000 this year.

According to Vivian Health, a national health care hiring agency, the average weekly pay for U.S. travel nurse pay in December 2022 was $3,177, down 16% from December 2021′s $3,782.

Money isn’t the only reason travel nurses don’t stay in one place, however, according to the survey.

Almost as important was freedom and flexibility, with 67% listing it as a motivator. According to the survey, 41% said they would never go back to a staff position.

Also influencing travel nurses were:

  • Sense of adventure: 32%
  • Work/life balance: 32%
  • Ability to focus on patient, not the politics: 26%

Overall, 76% of the nurses surveyed said they were satisfied with their recent travel job, compared to only 51% who said the same about their last staff position.

According to Nomad Health, a digital marketplace for health care staffing, traveling “helps nurses avoid the elements that contribute to burnout, such as long shifts, challenging patient-to-staff ratios and hospital politics,” Heath Leaders reported.