Profile of a Travel Nurse

By Amy Nutt

Travel nurses are nurses who travel to different locations for short-term working assignments. Travel nurses often work for hospitals, doctors offices, and in the medical administration field. Travel nurses are usually hired to fill temporary work shortages such as peak work times, maternity leave, and long term illnesses of permanent workers. Medical facilities will pay a high salary to fill short term periods. Assignment can be a few days or several months. An assignment usually runs for about- weeks.

To obtain a career in travel nursing, you must first have the appropriate credentials. The usual requirements for becoming a travel nurse are a minimum of one year of clinical experience and a state employment license granted by the states nursing board. You should have a nursing degree from a recognized nursing school and have all the skills needed to fill a particular position. Not all hospitals recognize one year vocational diploma programs. Medical facilities expect travel nurses to know what they are doing on the first day of the assignment. That is one reason why they pay top dollar for a travel nurse. They expect the travel nurse to have the knowledge and skills to adapt quickly and efficiently.

There are a number steps to achieving a career as a travel nurse. First, one should apply to a travel nurse agency. These agencies are actively involved with hospitals across the country and with many International hospitals. They have the knowledge of open travel nurse positions and they match the travel nurse with the staffing needs of the medical facility.

Once a person is accepted into the travel nurse agency, the recruiter will match that person with the assignment. The recruiter will help the travel nurse with the interview process, obtain essential state licenses, assist with housing and travel, and arrange for the appropriate benefits and pay. The recruiter receives a fee, but the travel nurse receives their knowledge and experience.

Although each state has its own nurse licensing requirements, they do provide temporary licenses. Some temporary licenses can last up to a year. Registered nurses have the advantage because their national board exam covers state requirements. Having a nursing agency recruiter can be helpful as they will assist you in securing your temporary license.

Because of the travel arrangements that need to be made for each assignment, travel nurses tend to prefer recruiting agencies. These agencies are experienced and can make travel arrangements quickly and efficiently. If traveling out of the country, one needs to secure a visa and have proof that they are a graduate of a reputable institution. It is important to maintain a current resume with valid supporting documents.

The life of a travel nurse requires maintaining a constant travel schedule that includes:

Maintaining a Check List: A week before you depart, have a list of all the necessities you need and check them off as you pack. This includes documents, clothing, books, etc.

Research Work Location: Prepare for cultural differences, personal safety issues, and proximity to stores, restaurants, and supermarkets. This will minimize unexpected stressful events.

Move In Early: Moving in a day or two early will allow you to become familiar with youre your work location and the surrounding community.

Most nurses enter the field of travel nursing jobs so they can travel, experience different work environments, make a good living, and maintain a flexible work schedule. Travel nursing is also an excellent way for recent graduates to find out where they would like long-term employment. The Professional Association of Nurse Travelers, a non-profit national organization representing nurse travelers in the US, is a great organization to consult with regarding a career in travel nursing.There are also many traveler nurse blogs and forums where one can gain more insight into the pros and cons of travel nursing. - 30436

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