Travel nursing is a not actually a nursing specialty. Rather, it is a unique and exciting way to practice nursing and see the world (or at least the country) at the same time. Travel nursing has been in existence for some time, but the nursing shortage has increased possibilities so that nurses can choose from many locations and lengths of commitment.
This is especially true if the nurse has experience and certifications in particularly high demand specialty areas.
Travel nursing fills a need. Facilities, large and small, were experiencing low staff levels. To find appropriate nursing professionals, companies decided to offer nurses the opportunity to travel and make money while helping in areas of greatest shortage. Staff positions were filled by qualified nurses for a specified amount of time.
Skill sets are expanded. Nurses gain experience in different disciplines when they travel. It is recommended that nurses considering the traveling lifestyle have at least one year of experience in the area of choice. But, once on assignment, nurses can take advantage of opportunities in other departments.
Travel assignments vary. Commitments in travel nursing usually range from 8 weeks or as long as 26 weeks and offer fairly generous salaries, with the agency coordinating the assignments often providing health benefits. Travel nurses have been known to stay in one location for as much as a year. Once an assignment is complete, nurses have the opportunity to accept another assignment or settle down and take a position on staff.
Traveling brings a host of other benefits. Travel nurses are paid well for their assignments. Pay can be as much as $40/hour. Living expenses are paid by the travel company and nurses are provided with furnished housing as close to work as possible.
Insurance and retirement plans are also standard offerings.
Because travel nurses are in demand, it is important to do some research before getting involved. Check out several travel companies. A company that has been in business at least ten years has weathered the storms of the business. More established companies have gained the trust of healthcare facilities. Their assignments will have greater variety due to the contacts that they have made.
Successful travel companies also have better benefits. Incentive programs and bonuses add to the appeal of the company. Talking to other travel nurses provides information about different companies and their practices.
Fill out an application. Doing so doesn’t lock you into any decisions. This gets your foot in the door. Now, you can have your questions answered and then choose to travel or not.
Once the travel company accepts the application, they will put you in touch with a recruiter. The recruiter is your link to the company. They go over the process and the types of assignments available. Choosing assignments is up to you. Don’t let a recruiter talk you into accepting assignments in areas that you don’t have a desire to visit.
A phone interview with the nursing manager of the facility you choose is the next step in the process. If you are hired, the company gets started with the preparations for your arrival. Any licensing issues are taken care of at this time. Arriving before the first day of work allows time for settling in and surveying the area.
Travel nurses interact with new people all the time. For nurses who wish to relocate but aren’t sure of the area, travel nursing gives them the advantage of trying out a place before making a commitment to a permanent move. You get to interact with other travel nurses and find out what their experiences have been on assignment.
Have you always wanted to work at a prestigious facility? That dream can be a reality if you work as a travel nurse.
All types of facilities seek nurses: outpatient care, rural health facilities, university hospitals, and world renowned healthcare centers.
Travel nursing offers the benefits of travel without the hassle. See the country and have a good time doing it. During the nursing shortage, travel nursing is a beacon to attract more people to the nursing profession.