What Are Travel Nursing Jobs?

Travel nursing jobs have multiplied in recent years due to the nursing shortage. Hospitals and other health facilities are always looking for available nurses to augment their staff. They work with travel nursing agencies to select, hire and deploy potential candidates.

Many nurses want to enter this type of career because it offers better pay and the chance to visit other places. Travel nursing careers can be lucrative and fulfilling. Health care employers are willing to pay premium for skilled nurses to satisfy staffing ratios and deliver the best care. These jobs also have their own unique challenges.

Travel nurses started their careers as regular nurses. To begin, you need to complete your diploma, associate or bachelor’s in nursing degree. The next step is to pass the NCLEX successfully to get your RN license and start working.

Some travel nursing agencies accept one year working experience for new applicants. But it is recommended that you get two to three years of nursing experience with at least one year in your specialty under your belt before becoming a travel nurse. The extra year or two will make you better prepared.

After you decide on an agency, they will look at your profile and match you with a job opening. These agencies have staffing contracts with hospitals and clinics that need nurses on a short-term basis. This is where you come in. The agency will contact you and you will get your assignment. The job will usually fall under your own specialty and located in a place of your choice, although this is not always the case.

Your experience as a travel nurse will depend on the terms of your contract and your negotiation skills. You may be pre-selected by your agency on behalf of the hospital or the facility itself may require you to undergo their recruitment process. Agencies or hospitals typically offer a travel allowance and housing to their nurses.

The contract you will sign will specify if the payment scheme is per diem, hourly, fixed or based on some other system. The agreement will also specify other conditions such as whether you are treated as a contractor or an employee of the hospital for the duration of your interim job.

The assignments that are given to a travel nurse last between four and 13 weeks. When your contract expires you will have the option to negotiate a renewal or an extension of your job. Some renew employment successively and end up staying in one place or working for a facility for a year or two.

You will be assigned to a facility on short notice. Upon arriving there, expect to be given only one day of orientation. Some facilities don’t provide any orientation at all. They expect you to hit the ground running as soon as you step in their nursing unit. You need to be able to help them out and contribute right away as a member of the health care team.

Many travel nurses often say they get the cold shoulder from the hospital staff. Some nurses dislike the fact that they are paid higher than them, while some just don’t have the time to welcome the newcomer. Expect this behavior and remember that you need to be able to adjust to them. Ask the right questions, remember people’s names and help out when you can. It may take a while but chances are you will be treated just like a regular member of the team before you know it.

Travel nursing jobs require nurses to be flexible, open-minded and adaptable. You need to be able to adjust to new surroundings, new polices and new team mates. These jobs also require that you combine people skills with your expertise to deliver the best care to your patients.

Maybe you want to earn more as a nurse, or are just plain bored with your current job. Perhaps you just want to travel and see different places and meet interesting people. Travel nursing careers offer all these opportunities. Many find the high pay and the freedom to work practically anywhere as the best features of this field. Experienced nurses with a sense of adventure and who are open to challenges are most qualified for travel nursing jobs.

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