How to Become a Travel Nurse
It’s true—there is a job that enables you to travel the country in a high-paying position while also helping people—that of the travel nurse. Travel nurses work as temporary fill-ins for people on sick or maternity leave, or help out during local emergencies or nursing staff shortages. A nurse must be an RN to become a travel nurse and the job duties correspond with the area of a nurse’s specialty—essentially the same duties the nurse would have within a healthcare establishment closer to home. Working outside of the country is also an option, although in general nurses tend to make significantly more money within the United States. Whether at home or abroad, travel nursing has excellent benefits, including the chance to gain useful and unique professional experience while seeing new places, and meeting new people.
The duties and responsibilities of a travel nurse depend upon the nurse’s specialty. A travel nurse who is a surgery specialist will assist in surgery while a travel nurse specializing in cardiac care will work in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) or on the cardiac care floor. Travel assignments range from 8 to 52 weeks, although 13 weeks is a common period of time for assignments. Housing for a travel nurse is generally part of the hiring package and is often handled through a separate agency such as a travel nursing company. NurseTraveler is a good resource for those interested in learning more about international opportunities available.
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A travel nurse must have an RN degree. There are three pathways to becoming a registered nurse: A hospital-based nursing school, which usually takes four years to complete; an associate’s degree in nursing, which generally takes two years (followed by another 1-2 years of schooling for a bachelor’s degree); or a bachelor’s degree (four years) in nursing (BSN). The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) considers a bachelor’s degree to be the minimum requirement for any career in nursing. After becoming an RN (and passing the N-CLEX exam), an individual can choose to specialize in an area of interest such as acute care, surgery, pediatrics or cardiac care by getting a master’s degree in nursing (MSN).
…More at How to Become a Travel Nurse
Travel Nurse Pay and Benefits: Everything You Need to Know
As a travel nurse, you receive some of the best benefits in the industry, sometimes even better than nurses working in full-time, permanent positions.
Our travel partners: American Mobile Healthcare, NursesRx, Medical Express and NurseChoice(4- to 8-week assignments), are the most experienced travel health care companies in the industry and offer competitive pay and benefits.
Select from the following categories to find out more about the various benefits offered to travel nurses:
- Compensation and Bonuses
- Insurance Benefits
- Housing and Travel
More take home pay
Travel nurses receive lucrative pay through our partners with their new, higher take home pay rates. Travelers on assignment with our partner travel nurse staffing agencies will now receive a take home pay rate that includes a daily allowance for meals and incidentals. Travel nurses are usually guaranteed a minimum number of hours for every assignment, as well, which can include overtime pay rates. While on assignment, you will be paid by the payroll department of your travel nursing company.
Sign-on and completion bonuses
Are you interested in earning some extra cash? Many of the facilities that our travel partners work with offer sign-on and completion bonuses of up to $6,000 for travelers. Your recruiter can provide you with further details.
What it takes to be a travel nurse today
A few years back, travel nursing was pretty simple. If you had a year of recent hospital-based experience and wanted to become a travel nurse, you would sign up with an agency, tell them where you wanted to go, and in no time you were enjoying the location of your choice.
Today, while the process might be the same, the game has undergone a few rule changes.
When the economy was slumping a couple of years ago, the industry was down, and assignment availability was almost half of what it was the previous year. Currently, travel positions are on the rise again, and the industry continues to strengthen. However, the hospitals continue to demand the best travelers and those with the most experience. While seasoned travelers can still often find assignments in their desired locations, those just entering the game do face more of a challenge.
For example, I correspond with a great deal of nurses in their first year of practice who are anxious to get on the road. I recently responded to an email from a nurse who was in her first six months of practice and wanted to know if I could recommend companies that would take her with such little time in the field. I told her I was not aware of any and even begged her NOT to seek them out. I explained that travel nurses have to be independent in their practice, and as I have written countless times before, “on the road” is not the place to be honing your skills as a nurse.
Even those that may have a year or two of experience, if you are still enlisting the help of the charge nurse (or other practitioners), for basic skills such as lab draws, or inserting catheters, IVs, or nasogastric tubes, the road might not yet be the place for you.
While one year of experience was long-considered a normal standard before transitioning to the healthcare travel field, many staffing companies have started asking candidates to possess two years of clinical experience. Certainly, there are still companies that can place you with only a year of experience, but you might have more of a search in finding them. You also have to consider whether or not you want to join just any company that will take you, or work with a certain company that might best benefit your career.
Now more than ever, it’s important for new travelers to be open to multiple locations when seeking a first assignment. If you want to work in San Diego, but the only positions available are in Los Angeles, take the L.A. assignment just to get your foot in the door. Then when it comes time to look for your next assignment, you will no longer hold the title of “first-time traveler” (which some hospitals specifically exclude from positions), and a San Diego hospital might be more inclined to take a traveler coming down from Los Angeles rather than one coming all the way from the East Coast.
Originally posted 2013-08-18 00:00:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter