The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Some folks have wanderlust and feel most fulfilled when they’re on the go, expanding the horizons of their careers. That’s in contrast to individuals who thrive on the routine that comes from always working in the same location.
When you recognize that you prefer a healthcare job but don’t want to be confined to one address or region, it’s natural to consider working as a travel nurse.
Becoming a travel nurse combines a passion for helping people with a desire for travel. There is a lot to learn about a career in travel nursing — including education and licensing — as well as how to find a job and some of the perks, such as compensation and bonuses.
Education and Licensing
You’ll find that travel nurses tend to work through short assignments, changing locations per the needs of the healthcare agencies where nurses are placed. Before you can enjoy the benefits of travel nursing, you need to have the standard education required of any nurse.
An online nursing journal explains that you need an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor’s in nursing (BSN.) You also should demonstrate certification in basic life support and advanced cardiovascular life support to support your goal to become a travel nurse. Travel nurses must also pass the National Council Licensure Exam for RNs (NCLEX-RN).
Be aware of the different requirements for med surge travel nurses in each location you’re interested in working. Depending on what states you work in, you may need to apply to be licensed in one or more of them.
While some states are part of the Nurse Licensure Compact and accept the license in one state as valid in theirs too, others maintain different requirements. Your agency should know the details of each state and will be able to steer you in the right direction for licensing.
Finding a Job as a Travel Nurse
Perks of the work
Many consider it a privilege to have a job they love, one that lets them take care of others. Aside from the intangible rewards of working as a travel nurse, there are other perks to keep in mind.
Variety: You may change locations and see what it’s like to live in different regions of the country. You also may be exposed to a wider variety of job opportunities, so you can try different specialties and departments in hospitals, clinics and other health centers.
A travel nurse may work for several weeks at a rehabilitation center then transition to a community health center or a nursing home. Typically, they will be able to arrange flexible hours, working only certain days of the week.
Compensation: Travel nurses can anticipate hefty salaries. Travel nurses tend to earn more than nurses who are on staff and stay in one location. As a travel nurse, you stand to make more than $3,000 every week.
Bonuses: As a travel nurse, you can anticipate your agency setting up furnished housing at your next location, covering the cost of utilities or providing stipends to compensate you. If you find housing that’s less expensive than the stipend, you can consider that an additional bonus.
Your New Job as a Travel Nurse
If the idea of being a travel nurse appeals to you, it’s a good idea to follow your gut and get serious about making a career change that puts you on this path. You’ll get an opportunity to visit different parts of the country, see patients from many different backgrounds and earn a robust paycheck. That makes for a stimulating nursing career.
About the Author
Garrett Norman is Vice President of Operations at SkyBridge Healthcare. With over a decade of experience in the staffing and recruiting industry, Norman has developed a passion for building successful teams, facilitating connections between healthcare clients and candidates, and driving revenue growth at SkyBridge Healthcare. While overseeing day-to-day operations is his primary job function, Norman also enjoys golfing, reading and spending quality time with his family.