Travel Nurse Guide: How to Become One
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Are you a travel nurse at heart? Do you have a love for the healthcare industry? Do you desire to help others while still exploring new places? If so, this career field may be a perfect match for you. It presents a countless range of new opportunities, professional freedom and comes with a higher-than-average pay. Before we dive in too deep, let’s first understand the travel nursing landscape.
What is a Travel Nurse?
A travel nurse is a specialized nurse who works for medical facilities, usually hospitals and clinics, where there are short-term employment gaps. Unlike a full-time permanent staff nurse, you not only get a chance to work in any state in the US, but you can also get temporary nursing assignments in any place across the world. In most cases, travel nursing contracts will last for 13 weeks. But, this period can sometimes go down to eight weeks or increase up to twenty-six weeks.
Basic Requirements to Become a Travel Nurse
Anyone who wants to have a career in nursing should hold an Associate’s Degree or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from an accredited university as the bare minimum. To then qualify to work as a travel nurse, you’ll need to become a registered nurse (RN) at the very least. That means you have first to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). On top of all that, you’ll need to gain experience in an acute-care hospital for a minimum of two years in the area of specialty you want to practice.
While education, experience, and license are all important, they are not enough. As a travel nurse, you’ll need to really know your stuff, be confident with your critical thinking skills, and be highly flexible. Efficiency, solid communication skills, problem-solving skills, and ability to thrive on challenges are other prime qualities you’ll need to excel in this career option.
Finding Travel Nursing Jobs
Once you have everything you need, it’s time to hunt for travel nursing jobs. Independent staffing agencies are responsible for the placement of travel nurses. Your specific agency serves as your sounding board, advocate and helps you find the right position based on your choice of specialty, length of time, and location. Because salary and benefit packages are dependent on the agency, you need to do sufficient due diligence when choosing an agency. Working with a company that has been vetted and highly recommended by fellow travel nurses is a surefire way to get a better benefits package. That said, it’s vital that you be wary of any travel nursing agency who;
- Doesn’t return communication with a 24 hours
- Becomes defensive when you work with other agencies or recruiters
- Makes verbal promises and doesn’t support them up in your written contract
- Doesn’t show you the full compensation package before submitting you a job
- Submits you to an assignment without your consent
- Pressures you into being taking up a job that you do not want
Job Details and Salary
Travel nurses generally receive higher pay than full-time permanent staff nurses. According to BLS, the average salary of travel nurses is $70,000. However, that often vary based on the specialty, the state, staffing agency, and shift. If night shift is not your thing, no amount of money is worth your license, happiness or safety.
Ready to Get Started?
Whether you’re an established nurse looking to shake things up or you’re just starting a career as an RN, Travelnursingreport.com is here to help. Join our community of future and current travel nurses by clicking HERE
I’m Nate Shanklin and I was a Recruiter for Travel Nurses for over 3 years. I found there was an extreme lack of knowledge and transparency in the industry, so I took it upon myself to start Travel Nursing Report. A site where you can learn the details about travel nursing that commonly nurses are finding out as they go along and, more importantly, when it’s too late. My aim is to help all Travel Nurses gain an understanding of what to expect and how to maximize their career.