Becoming a travel nurse is an exciting and challenging career.
It can be rewarding to help people in need, but it can also be hard to get started. This guide will help you navigate the waters and get started on your journey to becoming a travel nurse. Along the way, you’ll learn about the different types of nursing jobs, find resources, and find support from professionals who have gone before you.
What is a Travel Nurse?
A travel nurse is a registered nurse who works in a temporary position in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, and home health care agencies. Travel nurses typically work for 13-week assignments and then move to another assignment. They may fill in for staff nurses who are on vacation, sick leave, or maternity leave. Travel nurses also work in disaster areas and provide care to patients who have been displaced by natural disasters. The nature of the work allows travel nurses to see new places and meet new people while still doing the job they love.
If you’re a registered nurse looking for a more flexible job that allows you to see different parts of the country, then a travel nurse position may be for you. Travel nurses are in high demand due to the current nursing shortage, and are sought after for their flexibility and willingness to work in different settings.
Perks and Benefits of Travel Nursing
A lot of nurses find that traveling helps them achieve their personal and professional goals.
For starters, you get to travel to different parts of the country (or even the world) and experience new cultures firsthand. Since you’re more likely to be assigned to different hospitals and healthcare facilities, you also get to meet new people and make new friends along the way.
But that’s not all – as a travel nurse, you also get to enjoy a higher salary than your counterparts in traditional nursing positions. According to Indeed, Travel nurses earn an average base pay of $109,177 per year. That’s 40 percent more than the average salary of registered nurses in the US which is at $77,600 per year.
Many travel nursing agencies offer bonuses and other incentives to attract and retain top talent. The most common ones are sign-on and referral bonuses. Other popular incentives include continuing education reimbursement, housing stipends, and transportation allowances.
There are also the non-monetary benefits of travel nursing. Travel nurses have more flexibility in their work as they can often choose their assignments and locations. Travel nursing also provides numerous opportunities for gaining hands-on nursing expertise, enriching your resume, and improving your skills and capabilities.
Getting Started as a Travel Nurse
To be a travel nurse, you need to be a licensed registered nurse. You also need to have a clear criminal background, be able to pass a background check, and have an up-to-date CPR certification.
Travel Nurse Skills and Specialization
The basic skills that a travel nurse must possess depend on the location where you want to work. However, many common skills that are necessary for any position include:
- Communicating effectively with patients and their families
- Handling inventory and medication supplies
- Providing emotional support to patients and their families
- Observing confidentiality laws, hospital policies/procedures, and quality assurance standards
There are many different types of travel nurse specializations. Most travel nurses specialize in one particular area, such as pediatrics, surgery, or labor and delivery. However, there are some nurses who have a more generalist approach and work in multiple areas.
One of the most popular travel nurse specializations is working in the operating room. Operating room nurses provide care for patients before, during, and after surgery. They work closely with surgeons and other medical staff to ensure that surgeries are performed safely and effectively.
Another popular specialization is labor and delivery nursing. Labor and delivery nurses help women during childbirth. They provide support and guidance to both the mother and the baby during this crucial time. In addition to helping with the actual delivery, they also educate the parents on what to expect after the baby is born.
Travel Nurse Licensing and Certification
As a travel nurse, it’s important to be aware of the different licensing requirements in each state. Depending on the state, you may need to obtain a special license in order to work as a travel nurse. Some states have reciprocity agreements with other states, which means that if you have a license in one state, you may be able to obtain a license in another state without having to take additional exams. However, not all states have reciprocity agreements, so it’s important to research the requirements of each state before you begin your travel nursing assignment.
In general, the process of obtaining a license is similar from state to state. You will need to submit an application along with proof of your education and experience. You may also need to take and pass an exam before you can be licensed.
Job Application and Placement
To find a job placement as a travel nurse, you usually need to work with a healthcare staffing agency and their recruiters. The agency and your recruiter will help you with the process of finding a job that best fits your skills, experience, and goals.
The application process for becoming a travel nurse usually includes two stages: initial application and interview stage.
The initial application stage consists of providing general information such as name, contact information, education background, work history and professional licenses to the agency. If you get shortlisted, the recruiter will arrange you for an interview with the employer. If the employer is satisfied with the candidate’s qualifications, they will ask for references and background checks before hiring them.
If you are offered the position, the next step is to complete paperwork and any other requirements. Once all of that is complete, you will be ready to start your new adventure as a travel nurse!
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