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How to Become a Travel Nurse

How to Become a Travel Nurse

Working as a nurse gives professionals a certain amount of latitude when it comes to the patients they care for because they can specialize in different types of nursing. For nurses who want to option to work in a variety of settings across different states, growth and development opportunities, personal adventures, travel nursing is a great option. Keep reading to learn how to become a travel nurse.

What Is Travel Nursing?

Travel Nursing was born out of the necessity to curb nursing shortage. A Travel nurse is a Healthcare Professional who takes on a short-term assignment in a healthcare facility such as hospitals, nursing homes, school districts, correctional facilities, assisted living, behavioral health units, hospice and clinics. Assignments normally last between eight and 26 weeks, although most common travel assignments are 13 weeks long. Travel nursing gives nurses an opportunity to advance their careers, make more money and experience different cities. Travel Nursing does not necessarily mean traveling faraway from home, you have a choice to travel locally or out of state. Travelers or travel nurses can work with recruitment agencies recruiters or online travel nursing marketplaces to find assignments which act as intermediaries between the traveler and the healthcare providing organizations.

Travel Nursing can also describe variety of travel healthcare positions such as certified nursing assistants (CNA), physical therapy, (PT) occupational therapy (OT), speech-language pathology (SLP) and even doctors, however in this article we will be talking about the nursing profession.

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Requirements to Become a Travel Nurse

In order to be a travel nurse, an individual must become a nurse first. This means going through a 2-year, 3-year, or 4-year program at a community college, hospital, or university respectively, that meets their state’s educations requirements. In addition, nurses must pass the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) exam and meet the requirements to be licensed in their home state. Travel nurses must have an active license to be able to work.

How Nurses Work in Different States

Registered Nurses (RNs) typically work in only one state at a time because they have to meet that state’s requirements for a license. Travel nurses must have a minimum of 2 years of working experience as a nurse before most hospitals or agencies will hire them. When a nurse travels, they have to get a temporary license or get an endorsement for each state they work in. States usually provide temporary license when there is a strike of workers or an emergent need arises where nurses are needed. The license can be valid for anywhere from 30 days to 6 months. Different states have various requirements, processes, and timeframes for a nurse to obtain a license.

Continuing Education for Travel Nurses

Some states require a certain number of hours each year or every two years depending on their requirements. So, travel nurses should be prepared to take some CEUs every year.

Characteristics and Certifications Travel Nurses Have

Since nurses’ travel from place to place every few weeks or every few months, key qualities that a staffing agency or hospital looks for in a nurse include:

  • Leadership skills
  • Experience
  • Reliability
  • Communication skills
  • Solid clinical skills
  • Adaptability
  • Ability to Problem-Solve

Certifications aren’t strictly required but are good to have depending upon the nursing specialty. Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN), a Certified Emergency Nurse (CCN) and, Certified Critical Care Nurse (CCRN) are common among travel nurses.

How Much Travel Nurses Make?

One of the main reasons why nurses travel is high pays. Travel nurses make more money than locally employed nurses. The compensation for a travel nurse ranges from $1,300 to $3,700 a week but nurses can often make much more than that depending on the location, shift, specialty and demand. This doesn’t include money for living expenses such as lodging stipends, meals and incidental stipends, life insurance, medical benefits, dental and vision, 401k contributions, bonuses, and so forth. Successful travel nurses work for reputable recruiters or agencies that are clear about job assignments, contracts, and requirements before they go on assignments.

Being a travel nurse is an attractive career path for people seeking work and life balance. Connect with the best agencies and employers searching for travel nurses on NexNURSE by creating a free NexNURSE profile and uploading your credentials today.

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