Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could work as a nurse whenever and wherever you pleased? If you enjoy meeting new people, traveling to different parts of the country, and creating a resume with a range of experiences in medical facilities, travel nursing might be the appropriate career for you.
Instead of working for a single hospital, travel nurses are employed by nursing staffing agencies. They may travel abroad or work at hospitals within their own area that need temporary nurses.
A nurse may choose to go into travel nursing because it provides many advantages, such as the opportunity to explore new places, experience diverse practice environments, and meet new people. Other benefits of the job include competitive pay, great benefits, and free housing.
Check out the following article to learn how to become a Travel Nurse and the amazing benefits of doing so.
Steps to Becoming a Travel Nurse
Most travel nurse staffing agencies and clients prefer nurses with a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree. This can be obtained with an associate degree in nursing (ADN). The majority of the programs also require certification in Basic Life Support and Advanced Cardiac Life Support. Certifications are not required for entry-level jobs, but they are helpful in specialized fields.
1. Earn a BSN Degree
RNs who already have an ADN can usually obtain a BSN degree in four years through an RN-to-BSN program. Some credits can usually be transferred from a bachelor’s degree other than nursing for an accelerated BSN program.
In addition to a high school diploma or GED, a BSN program requires some coursework in mathematics, science, and chemistry. ADN program GPA requirements are usually lower than those for BSN programs, so students who didn’t achieve strong grades in high school may be able to get better grades from an ADN program and so improve their chances for entry into a BSN program.
2. Pass the NCLEX Exam
Passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses is required to receive a nursing license (NCLEX-RN). Nursing practice, medical conditions, treatment alternatives, healthcare system procedures, legal and ethical issues, and patient communication and education are among the six components of this test.
3. Get RN Licensure
Nursing licenses earned in some states are valid in other states thanks to the Nurse Licensure Compact. Nursing Licensure Compact allows nurses to practice in multiple states with one license. As of now, 34 states either have or are considering legislation recognizing a multi-state license.
There may be additional licensing requirements in other states, so it may require you to apply in more than one location. If you need help with this, a travel agency can help. States usually recognize board certifications.
4. Develop Nursing Experience
Most travel nurse agencies usually need two years of experience. While you gain experience, these are the duties and responsibilities that you will gain:
- Examining and conversing with patients about their symptoms and health histories to make key judgements about patient care
- Provide vital health information and guidance
- Participate in the delivery of treatment and medication
- Collaborate with other healthcare experts to develop quality assurance standards that will ensure that patients receive high-quality care
5. Work with a Travel Nurse Staffing Agency
One of the main differences between travel nursing and temporary nursing is that travel nurses are placed through travel nurse staffing agencies. It is common for schools to assist graduates in finding travel nurse staffing agencies, or you can locate travel nurse staffing agencies that recruit.
Nursing travelers work wherever there is an increasing need for healthcare or a nursing shortage. The positions they hold are available in clinics, hospitals, private practices, ambulatory surgical centers, and residential care facilities.
Nursing jobs overseas are also available to traveling nurses.
6. Travel Nurse Resume
In addition to your nursing experience, your resume should include all of your licenses and certifications. If you have any computer skills, make sure to mention how many beds there were in the units you worked in.
7. Furthering Education
There is no special certification for a travel nurse, but if you are an LPN, RN, or APRN, you can pursue dozens of certificates.
They may require additional qualifications for a specialty, such as critical care nurses. Even if your speciality does not require additional credentials, adding more certifications to your resume can help you stand out in the job market and open doors to new chances.
Ambulatory care, intensive care, emergency rooms, medical-surgical, and pediatric nursing certificates are among the most popular The American Nurses Credentialing Center and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners are two organizations that offer these and other types of certifications.
8. Prepare your tax home
There are many tax-free benefits associated with travel nursing. As a result, you will have to declare them as income and pay taxes if you fail to qualify for and accept the benefits.
It is necessary to have a tax-home to qualify. Circumstances can change over time, making taxes a challenge. Consult a tax attorney or counselor if you have questions about your tax situation.
Basically, this means you must set up and maintain a permanent residence. It becomes your home base, and you visit it between assignments, on vacations, and at other times throughout the year. For your driver’s license, nursing license, voter registration, and other documents, you will use this permanent address. Additionally, you will use this permanent address to file your federal income tax.
State taxes are filed as a non-resident in the state(s) where you worked on assignments. Use the permanent address on your bank account, which should be linked to the town where you live. Choose a national bank with locations around the country so you may do local banking while keeping your account registered in your home base.
It is important to follow some specific guidelines when renting out your house. Your parents’ home won’t usually qualify as a tax residence for you. The post office will forward your mail to a mailbox at your assignment site, which will then be delivered. You shouldn’t give out your assignment residence information to anyone other than your travel nursing agency and the facility where you will work.
For both personal and business reasons, use your permanent address. Tax residency and permanent residency are established and legitimized this way.
9. Identify the benefits you want
Travel nursing has a number of advantages that might help you earn more money. To entice nurses, travel nursing organizations provide a wide range of advantages.
In addition to understanding the pay packages offered by the agency, you should also have a list of items you should include in your contract. These compensation packages will be considerably different from those you received as a permanent employee.
As assignments aren’t always consecutive, it’s also important to factor in any downtime between them. Once you have completed this assignment, you should begin looking for your next assignment. A few of the amenities available to employees include allowances (furnished and unfurnished), travel stipends, car rentals, medical coverage, and 401Ks.
You will be an ideal candidate if you have everything in order and are prepared to present. When you arrive at hospitals and facilities, they expect you to be qualified and ready to work right away.
You will need to provide all of your supporting documentation including your driver’s license, nursing license, nursing certificates and possibly diplomas, social security card, direct deposit information, etc.
Ensure that all of these are ready to be presented to recruiters and when you report for your assignment. There will be no hold on your assignment while you get a nursing license or find a social security card. You should be prepared to begin. Organize well and you will become a preferred traveler.
11. Make sure you have a Travel Nursing Assignment
Now is the time to become a travel nurse. Seek out assignments with the travel agencies/recruiters you’ve vetted.
You will be interviewed after you submit your application. Take a chance and see how the process works.
Plan your next assignment and location while enjoying your travel adventures. Choosing a career in travel nursing can be a rewarding adventure full of career growth opportunities.
How much does a beginner Travel Nurse Make?
The average travel nurse can earn more than $3,000 per week under normal circumstances. Travel nurses are paid more than $50 per hour, plus accommodations are paid by the company.
Experience level and education do not affect travel nurse pay. As a matter of fact, a traveling registered nurse with two years experience is likely to earn the same amount as a traveling registered nurse with 15 years of experience.
Consequently, this is a perfect opportunity for newer nurses who want to make more money and pay off some of the tuition costs associated with their nursing education.
Are Travel Nurses in Demand?
Trends have been amplified by the pandemic. Demand for temporary travel nurses is likely to remain high into next year due to the surge in patient numbers and the difficulty retaining permanent staff.
Travel nursing positions are available in 30,000 hospitals nationwide.
What is a Travel Nurse Salary?
Money is most likely to be made in high-demand areas, such as crisis situations or areas with strikes or shortages of nurses.
You can earn more money as a travel nurse depending on factors such as location, specialty, and shift type
The average hourly rate for a travel nurse is $36.72. Travel nurses who have recently earned their license earn $26.63 on average, while those with more experience earn $45.36. Overtime hours may also be included in this rate, though their availability and demand will vary from assignment to assignment.
In general, travel nurses earn around $6,370 per month and can earn more if they have bonuses or work long hours.
Travel nurses also earn a significantly different average salary each year. They earn an average salary of $76,380 and start at $54,550. As they gain more experience, their salaries rise to $94,340.
The overall nature of the assignment, aside from experience, is the biggest factor in salary differences. Overtime and bonuses may play a part.
Many travel nurses earn more money working long overnight shifts in trauma centers than they would working shorter daytime shifts in doctors’ offices.
What is the highest paying travel nurse?
The most in-demand speciality is ICU nurses, and it is easy to understand why.
Care is provided for the most critically ill patients by highly trained professionals.
There are many ICU nurses needed across the country as the nation’s Intensive Care Units are full and overflowing with patients.
- Emergency Nurses
Most patients make contact with ER nurses as soon as they arrive in a hospital.
It is generally more stressful to be an ER nurse than to be an ICU nurse. Critical thinking skills are used by ER nurses in triaging patients immediately and prioritizing the most seriously ill.
In addition to their knowledge and skills, they are equipped to treat a variety of injuries and illnesses, such as gunshot wounds, motor vehicle accidents, and strokes
- Labor and Delivery
Over the years, this specialty has consistently ranked among the highest-paid specialties. Labor and Delivery staff have acquired specialized skills through experience over the years.
While they usually care for relatively healthy patients, these nurses must be prepared to respond to an unplanned cesarean section if it occurs.
Is it worth becoming a Traveling Nurse?
Pros of Being a Traveling Nurse
- Adventurous Lifestyle
Individuals who tend to feel stuck, suffocated or bored attending the same place of work every day are well suited to the life of the travel nurse.
This involves experiencing new environments and meeting new people. It may be possible for you to find a temporary job in a state that has a lot of hiking trails if you like to hike and enjoy changing scenery. The opportunity to meet people from other areas and explore various cities and towns may appeal to you.
- Housing Benefits
You typically have two housing benefit options as a travel nurse:
- Agency-Based Housing
- Housing Stipend
You’ll be able to find temporary housing through your travel nurse staffing agency. You might consider this if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of finding your own housing.
Housing will need to be arranged by you if you receive a housing stipend. Your housing stipend depends on how much it costs to live in the area where you are assigned.
If nurses are able to find housing rent that is lower than the housing stipend, they can take the housing stipend to give them more flexibility.
- Take control of your work schedule and location
Consider a career as a travel nurse if you enjoy having a sense of freedom.
Depending on where and when you choose to work, you can choose from jobs lasting a few weeks or even a few days.
Possibly there will be a special event that you’d like to attend. It is possible that you can find work in that area.
Often, travel nurses find work through a recruitment agency and can access that agency’s job boards, which allows them to select their own schedule, benefits package, and salary.
- Work for an Agency
The nursing recruitment industry has a variety of agencies that keep active job boards. These job boards offer multiple opportunities to find employment in any field of specialization you choose.
When you join an agency, you get access to high-paying employment like “rapid response” crisis assignments during a facility strike.
These agencies also offer assignments in “destination” locations like Hawaii, which typically do not pay as well – although they do allow you to vacation while you work.
- Career Experience Variety
Your experience will range from working in small rural hospitals, where you’ll have to fulfill every nursing position, to large, urban medical centers, where you will be able to specialize in the nursing area of your choice.
A nursing experience makes you a more attractive candidate to prospective employers and helps you grow as a professional nurse.
Cons of a Being Traveling Nurse
- Home Sick
Travel nurses are probably all familiar with homesickness at some point.
An assignment that keeps one away from family events or holidays can make one feel lonely.
It is for this reason that travel nurses often stick together. To cope with the occasional case of homesickness, it is crucial to develop a good support system during your travel nursing assignment.
- Travel Logistics
No matter the distance you travel, frequent travel is not easy; in fact, every profession is difficult when traveling is a part of their job duties.
A traveling nurse may encounter any of the following problems:
- If you work independently, the stress of constantly planning travel plans, including arranging flights, packing, and moving expenses is particularly high
- Adjustments to time change
- Insurance arrangements between contract periods
- Communication barriers (primarily international travel)
- Climate differences
- Getting used to new environments
- The number of weekend, night, and weekend shifts travel nurses often must work is undesirable
- Travel nurses must adapt quickly to other nursing departments and medical personnel
The same thing that may be negative for one individual could be positive for another. Taking steps to turn negatives into positives is a party of pursuing career goals with passion. Staff nurses suffering from burnout can benefit from travel nurses, and travel nurses are often appreciated in their temporary positions.
If you choose to book your accommodations, you can receive a travel nurse housing stipend from RNnetwork. You have many resources at your disposal to help make the process more manageable. Consider the following before signing any papers:
- Before you begin, do some research on your new city to determine where you want to live
- Inquire about housing options with the hospital personnel
- For the first week of your work, consider staying at a hotel to acquire a feel for the place
- Request suggestions and advice from other travel nurses
- Consider cost-cutting alternatives such as staying with a friend or family member who lives nearby
Is it hard to get a Travel Nurse Job?
A travel nursing job usually takes between 1 and 5 weeks to obtain. To get a travel nursing job, you will need to consider a number of factors. Because of this, it can take less than a week in some cases and longer than 5 weeks in others.
To become a traveling nurse, you will have to put in some time and effort. For instance, your license is an important factor. Are you licensed in one state because if so, then you are only able to practice in that state.
Flexibility is one of the biggest factors in determining the length of time it takes to get a travel nursing job. Those new to travel nursing often assume that there will always be jobs available in the locations they desire. Those in the travel nursing field face considerable competition in this field though.
All in all, becoming a Travel Nurse is the right career choice if you enjoy traveling. Upon completing their education and serving as a nurse in one setting for two years. Travel Nurses work in a variety of settings.
It is all about deciding whether you want to stay in one place and get paid less or if you want to get paid more so that you can travel, see the world, and still be passionate about nursing. After obtaining all of your necessary documents, you can not only travel within the United States, but also abroad.
As with everything in life, you will have to weigh the pros and cons to determine what’s best for you. There are many advantages to traveling as a nurse, including the chance to see new places, experience new practice environments, and meet new people. Additionally, this job offers competitive pay, excellent benefits, and free housing.
You will not only be in control of your future, but you will also make an incredible salary to continue traveling.
Written by Sara Rembert
Sara has a background in health care and case management, working for several years as a home help aid. Having always loved writing, but unsure of how to put her expertise to use, she brought together these two passions by becoming a freelance writer, specializing in medical and nursing writing.