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A Nurse’s Guide to Travel Nursing

Posted on: February 04, 2020

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Often times, nurses obtain their license and aim to start working as a registered nurse (RN) as soon as they can. Travel nursing is just another step in the process of becoming a well-rounded nurse, offering fun and valuable experiences along the way. Travel nurses typically don’t get to jump right in to nursing after obtaining their license. Travel nurse companies require one to two years of nursing practice for eligibility. This guide will explore the important steps to take before moving forward with a travel nurse position.

Research The Role

Travel nursing is a great job for people with the following skills:

  • Leadership - It’s important to have strong leadership skills. When taking an assignment, it’s critical to fully understand your role and when to speak up.
  • Expertise - It’s beneficial to become certified in your field through the Nursing Certification Association. This knowledge will help you grow your expertise.
  • Flexibility - You aren’t a staff member of the hospital, so it’s likely that you’re there to lend a helping hand - wherever that may be. Be adaptable, because you may not have the same patient assignment throughout your shift.
  • Communication skills - It’s important to maintain strong communication skills to connect with patients.
  • Problem solver - You will likely have to troubleshoot technical dilemmas or medical issues. If you come to the hospital unprepared to solve problems, you could cause more problems for the unit.

Research Travel Nurse Benefits

One of the main incentives of travel nursing is its benefits. Each travel company offers benefits, so it’s important to get clear on the specifics. CEUs are sometimes provided or reimbursed for you if your state requires additional continuing education.

If you have a family, you can select certain benefits such as medical coverage. Many nurses also hire a tax professional to assist with taxes at the end of the year.

Network With Other Travel Nurses

Luckily, we are in an age where the internet is right at our fingertips. Check out travel nursing groups on social media to connect with other travelers. You can ask your biggest questions and receive honest answers. Plus, this provides you with a support group that understands your challenges and concerns.

Get Recommendations From Others

When you network with other nurses, you can ask for recommendations of cities to travel to, companies to work with or avoid, tax preparers, books, blogs, or podcasts for additional knowledge.

Try Becoming a Float Nurse

To prepare yourself for travel nursing, try becoming a float nurse. Float nurses work within one hospital, but have the flexibility to work in multiple different areas. Like travel nursing, these nurses are not exposed to the departmental drama that arises from sticking to one location.

Keep Your Medical Records Current

This tip will help you when you begin the application process for travel nursing. Back in nursing school, you probably remember the requirement to maintain up-to-date vaccines to ensure that you are medically cleared to work with patients.

These tips will help you take the first steps to become a travel nurse, beyond receiving your nursing license. It’s an exciting career path with a variety of benefits. If travel nursing sounds interesting to you, give it a try — you won’t regret taking that chance.

Ready to begin your journey into traveling healthcare? Contact the Barton Healthcare Staffing team today to get started!

Janine Kelbach, BSN, RNC-OB
About Janine Kelbach, BSN, RNC-OB

Janine Kelbach, BSN, RNC-OB is an Ohio-based nurse and freelance writer. She is currently still working as an RN in labor and delivery, married to her best friend, and raising her two boys, and two Great Danes. She loves to help other nurses start their freelance businesses. She is the author of the book Entreprenuse and cohost of the podcast The SavvyScribe. You can find her on LinkedIn and her website WriteRN.net.