Thinking of Becoming a Traveling Nurse? Here’s What You Need to Know


How to Become a Travel Nurse

To become a travel nurse, it’s recommended that you have between 12 and 18 months of hospital based experience in your field. Depending on your specialty, more or less experience may be required. To get involved, start by selecting a field of expertise to focus on and then make a list of places you would enjoy working. The next step is to contact a recruiter to get started finding and applying for positions that you’re qualified for and are located where you want to work. Ideally, you’ll get set up to interview with your prospective future employer and eventually land the position. Be sure to use your recruiter as a resource before your interview. A good recruiter will have a deep understanding of what the employer is looking and will be able to help you determine what to focus on in your interview.


Top 5 Benefits of Becoming a Traveling Nurse


1. Flexible Scheduling

As I mentioned above, traveling nursing offers great flexibility in terms contract length, location and position. It can be exhausting to constantly travel from one location to another. Travel nurses who experience this type of fatigue can take breaks when they need to, or arrange to work near family if need be. Traveling nurses can also arrange their weekly schedules to accommodate for longer weekends if that’s what they decide to do. To summarize, traveling nurses enjoy great flexibility in their scheduling. While constantly being on the road may be taxing, traveling nurses can take breaks when they need to.


2. Compensation

Traveling nurses can receive top pay rates relative to their non-traveling peers. This includes double time or time and a half for overtime. Average pay rates of traveling nurses are $25-$40 per hour. Depending on the contract, traveling nurses can also receive bonuses. For a 13 week contract, the average bonus is around $1,000-1500, according to Monster. Other contracts may not have bonuses, but overall, bonuses may range anywhere from $500-$8,000.


3. Housing Allowance

Depending on the location, you can receive financial assistance for housing, which averages about $900 per month. However, this may vary depending on the location. You can also opt out financial assistance if the hospital is renting the apartment for you. In some cases, you may be required to share housing with another traveler. Still, it’s up to you which projects you pursue and where you end up. If you’re not interested in sharing housing with another traveler, be sure to choose projects where sharing isn’t required.


4. Referral Bonuses

In many instances, you may be compensated for referring people you know to work for various health organizations. Referral bonuses vary, but some can be up to $1,000, according to a Nursing Link article. As the nursing shortage continues to be a major challenge facing healthcare organizations and the industry, it is likely that referral bonuses will increase as for these organizations to compete with one another for new employees.


5. Assignment Management

Arguably, one of the best benefits of being a travel nurse is assignment management. Travel nursing agencies typically have a staff and management team who look for contracts based on the criteria specify. In fact, the agency staff essentially manages your personal work various ways ranging from helping you receive your check on time to helping you find and get to your next assignment. As a travel nurse, having a good manager to oversee your experience and ensure it runs smoothly can make or break the experience. So, be sure that your manager is someone you see eye-to-eye with who will work hard to make sure you have a good experience.

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A Job That Will Take You Places

Travel nursing isn’t for everyone, but if you’re someone who likes the idea of being on the road a lot, it could be an exciting and rewarding career. Travel nurses have the opportunity to explore new surroundings, new cultures and lots of things they might not discover if they were only visiting the places they work for a short period of time. Since projects last many weeks, travel nurses can get comfortable and get to know the places they work on a deeper level, which is a rewarding and fulfilling experience. If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a travel nurse, there are jobs available in hospitals across the country. The best way to get started is to contact a recruiter or travel nursing agency who can help you a great first assignment that fits your specialty and selection criteria.