As a travel nurse agency, you may think it a bit odd that we’re encouraging you to take a vacation – but as a nurse first, and nurse powered* agency, we are acutely aware of the negative effects of working one contract after another and never reaping the benefits of taking a vacation.
*Next Move is staffed by several nurses who made the career switch from a full-time nursing career to working inside a travel nurse agency. They keep up their licenses and do take shifts on occasion.
Travel nursing is a bit different and sometimes a little more stressful than staff nursing. As a staff nurse it is very likely you’ve been at the same institution for years, know all the routines, all the faces, all the regulars and can basically do the job with your eyes closed. Travel nurses are just as skilled but take those skills into brand new environments with new procedures, new people, new routines – which can at times seem a bit more stressful.
The beauty of travel nursing – versus staff nursing – is that you can very easily take as much time off as you like, and you don’t even have to ask for permission.
Yes – the money is tempting. You can earn between $50K to $65K in 13-weeks – but after a few contracts, no matter how much you might earn on that next contract – sometimes – you just need a break.
Most RNs at Next Move take between 2 to 4 weeks off between every 13-week contract and we highly encourage this.
Studies have shown that taking a vacation lowers stress, decreases the risk of heart disease, gives you a better outlook on life, and provides you with more motivation to achieve your personal and professional goals, not to mention the obvious benefits of feeling refreshed and recharged.
It should hardly take any convincing to explain the benefits of lying poolside for a week or two – with nothing to do other than enjoy the rays of the sun or just the pure joy of not setting that alarm clock – and being completely free of any professional responsibilities for a few weeks at a time – but if you do need a little convincing – here are 6 verifiable health benefits of taking a vacation.
If you’re feeling a little (or a lot) burned out – this might be just the article for you:
Lessen Your Risk for Heart Disease
Several studies have shown that taking time off can reduce your risk of heart disease and not taking time off can increase your risk for heart attack, strokes, and other forms of coronary heart diseases. This should come as no surprise – as lowering your stress is a large factor in preventing heart disease.
Boost Your Mental Health
Imagine the effect of waking up whenever you want. Not having any structure to your day. Being free to go with the flow with whatever comes up. Sitting at a beach somewhere – just staring into the ocean blue or lying in a cabana and letting the gentle breeze flow through your hair while you lazily read for hours on end.
A vacation allows feelings of calm to arise and relieves stress, both of which allow your body to heal in ways it can’t do when it’s under constant stress. Neuroscientists have shown a connection between chronic exposure to stress and anxiety and depression.
Get to Happy
Just as Bobby McFerrin once said: “In your life expect some trouble. When you worry, you make it double. Don’t worry. Be happy.” People who make time for vacation are generally happier. According to Gallup-Healthway’s Well Being Index, those who make time for vacation scored 68.4 as compared to 51.4 for those who don’t take regular vacays. Another study found that just 3-days into a vacation, people reported sleeping more soundly and having an improved mood. And – reported those same results 5 weeks after said vacation.
Have you been feeling unfocused and not as productive as usual? Do you end your shift and immediately grab a bag of chips and plop down for a Netflix marathon? Not taking time off can lead to chronic stress which can make you lose focus, productivity and even cause memory problems. Just like a horse will collapse if you continue to ride it for days on end without a break – so too will your mental faculties if you don’t give them time to rest.
Bring Back that Spark
Have you found yourself stuck in a rut in your personal relationships? Perhaps you’ve been feeling like you’ve lost that “spark” with your significant other? Or don’t get along as well or as easily with your close friends? Perhaps it’s time to take a little trip with your best friends, family, significant other, or all of the above!
Studies have shown that spending time with loved ones can lead to more satisfaction in your interpersonal relationships.
Lesson the Effects of Burnout
Vacations aka: time to relax (whatever that looks like for you) has been shown to minimize the effects of burnout, while at the same time improving productivity as compared to folks who skip the vacay in favor of the paycheck.
It should be noted here that taking a vacation won’t solve burnout. Studies also show that the symptoms of burnout will often return after the vacation if the root cause of burnout is not addressed.
Read more about burnout here: 10 Signs You’re Experiencing Burnout