What is travel nursing?

Travel RN overview

A travel nurse is a licensed nurse who typically works in a hospital for 13 weeks at a time before moving on to a different hospital in a different part of the country. Sometimes, if you love your contract, you might be given an opportunity to extend your stay.

Traveling nurses travel around the United States fill temporary nursing positions. If you’re a nurse and love to travel, this may be the right career move for you. There is a high demand for traveling nurses in areas in which the population fluctuates. These changes can be seasonal, like the snowbirds going to Florida for the winter and then returning to their home state, or in tourist towns during peak travel season. Wherever the population routinely rises and falls, a traveling nurse is needed.

Another scenario of a job a traveling nurse might fill is when a full-time nurse quits and a replacement has not been found. A situation like this could turn into a full-time position for the traveling nurse if she is happy with the facility and its managers are happy with her performance. 

Hospitals hire travel nurses and other traveling health professionals for a variety of reasons. Travel nurses can bring a variety of experience and knowledge that a hospital can benefit from. Often, a travel nurse can act as a mentor for other nurses that have just completed their training and are not yet comfortable and/or confident with their new professional status. Medical facilities that have just opened will often recruit travel nurses until the facility is up and running smoothly. The new, inexperienced staff will benefit from the travel nurse’s previous work experience.

Most travel nurses enjoy traveling, meeting and working with new co-workers, and hope to gain a well-rounded work experience that will serve them when they begin working full-time at a specific medical facility. Many travel nurses claim that the experience allows them to develop a better understanding of their chosen specialty. These same travel nurses also claim that their unique work experiences help to reintroduce them to patient-focused nursing.

Before they start working at a new hospital, a travel nurse establishes an agreement with the hospital. This agreement states what salary the nurse will earn while she is working for the hospital. Before traveling to the new hospital, the nurse knows what proportion of their travel expenses will be covered and where they will be living while they’re working at the medical facility.

Travel nurses generally enjoy a more lucrative salary than they would receive if they worked in a single location. The salary the travel nurse earns is generally based on where they are working. Typically, a travel nurse will earn less working in a hospital in a rural community than they will in a large inner-city hospital. Some nurses prefer to travel nursing to nursing in a single medical facility because they enjoy seeing the world and learning about other cultures. Working in a constantly changing location challenges a travel nurse’s knowledge and talents. The skills that travel nurses develop on their journeys are skills they can use when they settle on a home base.

Travel nurses find employment through a travel nursing service. This service pairs nurse with medical facilities that are seeking a travel nurse. The travel nursing service typically has a long and happy relationship with hospitals, medical facilities, and medical professionals. The nursing service helps negotiate agreements between the medical facilities and the travel nurse. The travel nursing service can also help the travel nurse ensure that they have the proper licensing to work in the state they’re about to travel to.

Before a nurse can become a travel nurse, they need to measure up to certain professional criteria.

Travel Nursing Involve Sacrifices

There are some things you need to consider before becoming a traveling nurse. These are the things will determine whether being a traveling nurse is right for you. The jobs that you accept may take you away from your family for up to a year. Depending on how far away the job is, this could be a deciding factor. Generally, it is best if you do not have pets, because it’s possible that the housing provided for you will not accept them. You will have to be licensed in every state you choose to work in. These are considerations that a good traveling nurse agency will help you work out. Jobs are often assigned months in advance to give you time to prepare. They can also start in as little as two weeks from the completion of the application process.

What Destinations Will You See?

As a traveling nurse, you will be able to work in many different settings, such as hospitals and acute care facilities or surgery and outpatient surgery centers in normal hospital-type settings. You could work with the elderly in nursing homes and assisted living centers, or with children in schools and camp nurse’s offices. Other traveling nurse positions can include doctors’ offices, correctional facilities, occupational health facilities, clinics, and labs. You usually need at least one year of hospital experience before you can become a traveling nurse. This requirement may vary from place to place.

If you’re looking for a rewarding career that allows you to travel across the United States, then a career as a traveling nurse could be just what you’re looking for. Look for agencies in your town or on the internet to help get you started on your traveling nurse journey. They will help place you in a job that’s right for you and show you how to take care of the little details you may forget.

Share This