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Quick Guide: Travel Nursing Edition

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What is travel nursing?

One of the most exciting nursing professions? Definitely travel nursing. 
Travel nurses work to fill short-term staffing shortages at various hospitals or facilities around the country. These staffing shortages could include anything from a strike to planned maternity leave. The length of the job, unit, amount of patients, and location all depend on the assignment. But don’t worry, you get to choose what you are willing to do! Below, we’ll take a look at the elements that comprise travel nursing- who knows, you may decide travel nursing is right for you.
Quick Guide: Travel Nursing Edition

How do you become a travel nurse?

Obtain an agency contract
 Sign on with hospitals in need when they reach out to an agency
 While there are hundreds of agencies, look for one that is joint commission certified; many hospitals will only work with an agency that is certified
Some agencies even offer benefits!

 

What do you need to get started?

RN license in good standing
Typically 1-2 years of in-field nursing experience
Multi-state licenses are helpful because you need to be licensed in the state in which you accept the contract.
Unless of course there was a global pandemic and licensure requirements were waived.
Only an ASN degree is required, but magnet hospitals typically require a BSN. Having a BSN in place may allow more positional and travel opportunities.
 

What is the average pay?

Between $40-$50 an hour
 Pay ranges depend on elements, such as assignment, specialty, location, shift, etc.
 Pay is not usually affected by degree or experience
Can be eligible for bonuses and other compensation in addition to your hourly rate

Advantages

● Travel!
● Flexibility; you pick the assignments and choose how much you work
● Extra money; travel nurses often make at least 15% more than staff nurses!
● New and exciting work environments
● Free (or compensated) housing; travel nurses either live in housing that the agency sets up, or they get a non-taxable housing check to use
● Improve your resume; try out new specialties and gain enhanced skills and experience
● Meet new people; connections and networking can vastly improve your career opportunities!

Quick Guide: Travel Nursing Edition

Disadvantages

 Away from home for long periods of time; most assignments are 8-24 weeks and then you move on to another contract unless you decide to take a staff position
 Potential distaste for the work environment
Logistics; traveling takes a lot of planning!
Loneliness; nurses are often by themselves when on assignment
Not very family-friendly, though there are nurses who make it work!
Becoming a travel nurse isn’t easy and there is a lot of planning involved! But this career choice can also be very rewarding. You can gain a lot of experience as well as get to see a lot of new places and meet tons of new people.
Quick Guide: Travel Nursing Edition

Are you a travel nurse? We want to hear from you! Tell your story in the comments below, or join the conversation on Facebook.

Katelyn Johnson

Katelyn Johnson

Author

Katelyn has a Master’s in Healthcare Administration and five years of clinical experience. She has made the shift to full-time freelance writing and enjoys covering topics on nursing careers, lifestyle, and community. Her goal is to help start a conversation and spread awareness around the many ups and downs of the healthcare field.

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