In the fight against coronavirus, when healthcare facilities across the globe are facing nurse shortage, travel nurses have come to the rescue. They are working at the front and center of the pandemic battle. Putting their neck on the line, they have emerged stronger than ever before.

This sudden rise in demand has led to an increased interest in nursing especially travel nursing. According to the 2020 Travel Nursing Recruitment Report, there was an 8% increase in traveling nurses recruitment during the pandemic. This means more and more nurses are opting for travel nursing as a career now.

If you are also one of those candidates who is evaluating travel nursing as a potential career, then here is a complete guide to help you decide better.

    1. What is Travel Nursing?
    2. How Will It Benefit Me?
    3. What Factors Impact My Pay as a Travel Nurse?
    4. How Can I Become a Travel Nurse?
    5. What Are The Tips for First-time Travel Nurses

1.       What is Travel Nursing?

Travel nursing is a nursing concept that came into existence as a response to the nursing shortage. It helps to cater to the constant dearth of nurses across the globe by employing Registered Nurses (RN) for short-term roles at hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities.

Travel nurses are usually hired through healthcare staffing agencies for a limited period depending on their assignments. An average travel nursing assignment lasts about 13 weeks, after which the contracts are renewed depending on the nursing requirement.

2.    How Will It Benefit Me?

1. Pay Packages

Careers in travel nursing are well compensated. According to Indeed, travel nurses earn an average yearly salary of $75,109 which may further rise to  $100,00 annually for domestic travel nurses. In addition to competitive salaries, travel nurses also receive bonuses on extra work, completion of assignments, retirement savings, health insurance, and more.

2. Working with Multiple Agencies

Unlike, staff nursing, you are not bound to work for a single employer or agency. Since travel nursing projects are short-term, you can partner with multiple agencies for different assignments across the country. You also get the freedom to choose from multiple opportunities which increases your chance of getting paid throughout the year.

3. Work Flexibility

Travel nursing offers a lot of personal and professional flexibility. You get to experience new cities, organizations, and work. Moreover, there’s no obligation to accept an assignment if the location, work, or employment duration doesn’t align. You can also choose to take breaks between assignments as per your schedule.

4. Learn New Things

This may be the most underrated of all the benefits but yet is significant in making your mark as an expert. As you get to work with a variety of organizations and medical experts, you gain a wide variety of exposure to different healthcare trends and practices. From medical protocols, equipment, procedures to treatments, medicines, and patients, you learn massively during every assignment.

5. Free Private Housing or Reimbursement

Many nursing agencies offer free housing nearby healthcare facilities to eliminate the hassle of finding houses every time they get employed at a new location. This lifts off a lot of monetary and mental pressure and ensures nurses are less burdened with extra hassles. However, you can also opt for housing reimbursements, if you want to settle in a house of your own choice. Both ways it is a win-win situation.


Read More: Nurse Burnout: An Occupational Hazard

3.       What Factors Impact My Pay as a Travel Nurse?

payment parameters_travel nursing

While travel nurses are well compensated, yet if packages are not assessed properly at the time of signing contracts, it may lead to huge pay gaps. Therefore, you must remain cognizant of the below three factors while constructing your payment structure.

1.   Time

Time is always a critical and baseline factor in determining your pay structure. Total number of hours you work has a major contribution to your pay package. Therefore, before stamping upon the contract, you must properly evaluate your weekly and monthly working hours.

Also, if you’re planning to earn extra bucks by working overtime, then also consider the overtime pay. It is also important because half of the time, nurses are working overtime without justified remuneration. It holds true in the current pandemic scenario when approximately all the nurses are stretching overtime.

2.   Location

Your working location plays a significant role in deciding the base rate of your pay structure. The compensation package must align with the cost of living of the state and country to ensure your survival is not compromised.  Historically, top destinations for travel nurses include California, Florida, Hawaii, Colorado, Texas.

locations_travel nursing

3.   Specialty

This highly sways your payment construct. If you are working in a highly specialized field that requires extensive hands-on experience and education, then the pay will typically be higher than other non-specialty fields. Demand and supply ratio also plays a key role here. If the medical field is niche and as a result has a dearth of resources, then also the pay will soar high. Some of the specialties that currently remunerate high are,

  1. Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
  2. Cardiac Catheterization Lab
  3. Cardiovascular Operating Room (CVOR)
  4. Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU)
  5. Oncology Nurse (Medical/Surgical)

4.       How Can I Become a Travel Nurse?

Travel nursing presents an exciting opportunity for individuals who like to travel, prefer a nomad lifestyle, are comfortable with flexible schedules, and want to earn good money as a nurse. If you fall in the above criteria and want to apply for travel nursing, you must then ensure to have a high school diploma or GED, be a registered nurse (RN), hold a valid nursing license, provide proof for their right to work in the U.S and possess all required certifications for their nursing specialty.

Requirements to Become a Travel Nurse

Upon qualifying all the above requirements, you can approach a nurse staffing agency with your detailed resume to get started. Some agencies might ask for a minimum of a year of nursing experience.

Also, you would need to provide proof of all your licenses, certifications, and references while applying. You must be clear with your requirements while submitting your application including location issues, immunizations, health records, remunerations, and the kind of facilities you want to work for.

After your application is accepted, a dedicated recruiter gets assigned to further guide you through the hiring process.

5. What Are The Tips for First-time Travel Nurses?

  • Verify Pay Rates

If you’re a beginner in travel nursing, you must network with other travel nurses to get a brief overview of the ongoing rates. This would help you negotiate better and give you an idea of how things work in the industry.        Also, enquire with the recruiter about the pay scale well in detail and ensure to document the same on paper to avoid any future issues.

  • Clearly Discuss the Contract Before Signing

Keep crystal clear communication about the location, rentals, housing, facilities, length of stay, shifts leaves, and more before signing the contract. Do not go into the contract with half-baked information.

  • Keep an Open Mind

You should keep your calm when entering a new facility. Adjusting into an already settled environment and making your way in it takes time.

Chances are you might have to tip-toe in the initial phase, but once settled, things will become breezy. As a traveling nurse, skill is what you would need to prove your mettle professionally and a little courteousness to prove your compassion on a personal level.

  • Prepare, Prepare and Prepare

While you are working on the go, preparation is what will help you survive.

Prepare for what all you will need at the new location, and what all is easily available there.

Prepare for the facility and assignment, what all skills would you need to brush, what all knowledge you must gain to better tackle the new opportunity. Also, reach the location two days in advance to give yourself a breathing time before starting.

If you are also new to travel nursing and are looking for guidance or opportunities, we are just a call away.


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