If you are interested in travel nursing, you must first become a registered nurse (RN). Once you have done so, you can register with travel nursing agencies and see the country, filling temporary positions in different locations. In so doing, you will gain a wealth of fantastic work experience, building a resume that will benefit you for the rest of your life. In fact, it is a known fact that travel nurses are better at patient-centered nursing, simple because the only consistent element of their job is the patient.
What Is a Travel Nurse?
Travel nurses work for agencies and are sent out to wherever there is a shortage. Usually, this is within hospitals, where there is a huge demand for nursing. In some cases, travel nurses are sent to foreign countries, and others become independent contractors. However, this is the hardest of all, as you don’t get any of the benefits such as accommodation, travel expenses, and a properly negotiated salary.
There are several reasons as to why hospitals require travel nurses. Mainly, however, it is to fill a shortage. Additionally, because travel nurses work in so many different areas of the overall healthcare system, they bring a wealth of important knowledge with them. Another reason why travel nurses are popular is because there are areas of the country with seasonal population fluctuations, meaning that there is an added need for healthcare personnel during certain months of the year. Travel nurses are also often required when new medical facilities are opened. Here, they ensure the facility can operate, but they also offer mentorship to the nurses who will take on the permanent positions.
In this role, nurses can be found in a variety of different healthcare settings, including:
- Outpatient surgery centers.
- Acute care facilities.
- Camps or schools.
- Nursing homes and assisted living homes.
- Correctional facilities.
- Physician’s offices.
In the past, travel nurses required at least one year of working experience as an RN. Today, however, there is such a huge demand for nurses that even those who have just been licensed can be registered with an agency and find work.
Most travel nurse positions last two to three months on average. However, they can be as short as two weeks or as long as a full year. That is, to some, the only downside of the position, in as such that it is difficult to settle down and really feel at home anywhere, or to build relationships. Indeed, few travel nurses take on these positions for very long periods of time. Usually, they will find a place where they really enjoy the work, and the travel nursing agency they were registered with will them help them to negotiate a permanent position in that setting, if that is possible.
If you are considering travel nursing, then you should consider speaking to an agency to understand what is involved and whether you are an appropriate candidate. The career is varied and incredibly interesting, but you also have to be realistic about the associated difficulties.