Travel Nursing: How to Become a Travel Nurse & If It’s Right For You29 October 2019
Nursing is a prestigious profession that is always looking for new candidates within the healthcare field. And for many future applicants, the idea of travel nursing holds plenty of appeal.
When you work as a travel nurse you can explore new places, earn competitive pay, and get the opportunity to challenge yourself by adapting to new workplaces as you go. Another big reason why so many people are interested in travel nursing is for the sheer flexibility involved in the career. You have the opportunity to learn valuable new skills and push yourself outside of your comfort zone again and again as you help new patients around the country.
But what are the requirements to be a travel nurse? And how can you get started? Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of travel nursing.
What is Travel Nursing?
When you hear the term travel nurse, you may immediately start having visions in your head of a jet-setting nurse who visits exotic locations, offering their medical care services to those in need. And while opportunities like that may arise occasionally, working as a travel nurse means that you are employed by an independent nursing agency that provides nursing staff for multiple locations.
Instead of being attached to one hospital, you can work for a network of hospitals all over the country and even abroad. Where to and how often you travel is all up to you.
Generally, travel nurses must be available to provide medical assistance on short-term working assignments that last anywhere from 8 to 26 weeks. However, most short-term positions are offered on a 13-week basis. While the time frame for each job isn’t may not always be flexible, where in the country or world that you’d like to work is. Your role is to fill in the gaps in areas where additional help is needed, playing a vital role in the healthcare system.
What are the Licensing Requirements to Become a Travel Nurse?
The basic requirement to begin working as a travel nurse is an active RN license. If you have completed a diploma program, hold an Associates or Bachelor’s degree in nursing or you’re a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)— you are eligible to work as a traveling nurse. Demand for RNs and LPNs for traveling nursing can depend on staffing needs and location.
For those who are interested in working as a travel nurse domestically in the US, there may be a need to secure additional licensure for the states you will be working in. If you previously obtained your original nursing license in a Nurse Licensure Compact state (NLC) like Florida or Arizona, your license is good to go in all NLC states. Other credentials that you may need to begin working as a traveling nurse include:
- Basic Life Support certification (BLS)
- Advanced Cardiac Life Support certification (ACLS)
- CCRN certification for critical care nursing
- NRP certification for labor, delivery, and post-partum care nursing
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN)
The majority of travel nursing agencies do require that staff obtains and maintains all certifications at their own expense. This means that it’s up to you to do your research ahead of time and stay on top of continuing education opportunities. If you are interested in working in a specialty nursing field, this is the perfect opportunity to get your certification and gain some valuable experience as well. Additionally, while a BSN degree is not a formal requirement for becoming a travel nurse, many hospitals prefer to work with BSN-prepared nurses.
How Do I Find Travel Nursing Jobs?
Most travel nurses work with an agency that will help place them with different hospitals based on their choice of specialty, location, and availability. Different agencies work with different medical facilities, so as a good rule of thumb, it’s in your best interest to work with multiple agencies to find new assignments. It’s also good to remember that certain areas are much more in-demand than others. So, if you have your sights set on cities like New York, San Francisco or Honolulu—it may take time before an opportunity arises.
As you research different agencies and opportunities, keep these key questions in mind:
- Which locations do you serve?
- Do you offer paid time off?
- How is pay structured?
- Is health insurance offered?
- Is housing or a housing stipend offered?
- Do you feature any singing incentives or bonuses for the end of assignments?
There are many different travel nursing agencies out there, so be sure you work with a company that you feel comfortable with and will value your service.
Start Training for Your Travel Nursing Career Today at Pioneer Pacific College
Interested in becoming a nurse and learning more about the many benefits of travel nursing?
At Pioneer Pacific College, we know that careers aren’t one-size-fits-all and that’s why we have programs that are tailored for your success. For more information on our healthcare education programs, contact our admissions team today.