Travel Nursing as a Career: 7 Things You Need to Know

Travel Nursing as a Career: 7 Things You Need to KnowIn this helpful article you’ll learn all the things you need to know about pursuing travel nursing as a career.

You’ve already selected the destinations you’d like to visit. So what else are you required to consider before you begin working as a traveling nurse?

While Benjamin Franklin was probably not specifically referring to travel nursing when he wrote his famous quote, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail,” his advice is highly applicable to nurses contemplating this profession of travel nursing.

If you’re curious to hear more about a travel nurse career, I’m here to share about it all!

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I love sharing insights and strategies to empower people to enjoy a successful and fulfilling career life. So I pulled together this helpful article all about what you need to know about pursuing a career as a travel nurse.

7 Things to Know About Travel Nursing as a Career

Making the transition from a traditional to a travel nurse is much easier if you study up and consider this as your study guide, as well as a “cheat sheet” for the most important aspects to research and choose before you travel as a nurse:

1. Staffing Company

The path to becoming a travel nurse starts by choosing the right staffing company to represent you and assist you in achieving your goals in your new profession.

Important factors to consider include:

  • the company’s overall reputation
  • experience in the travel staffing industry
  • whether they are Joint Commission-certified
  • the roster of available assignments (including the locations, facility types, and specialties of interest to you)
  • exclusive agreements with facilities
  • plus pay rates and benefits

2. Recruiter

The most experienced travelers will inform you that finding a good recruiter is the biggest piece of the pie that travel nurses eat.

When considering a potential recruiter, make sure you ask lots of questions before meeting to determine, such as travel nurse salary, safety options, and much more, if your personalities and styles of communication match. Once you’ve decided to collaborate, it is crucial to keep communication open to ensure a positive traveler/recruiter partnership.

3. Readiness/experience

Do you have the expertise to travel to get the dream position you’ve always wanted? While the requirements vary greatly based on location, type of facility, and specialty, all institutions require that nurses who travel possess an average of 18 months prior experience in the field.

Your flexibility and preparedness must also be taken into consideration. Raczka said potential travel nurses should discuss their experience expectations directly with recruiters. “Once you have a recruiter you trust, listen to their advice,” she explained. “Some areas are very competitive, and it may help to get one assignment under your belt, so you have prior travel experience.”

4. Terms of the contract

  • Are you willing to commit to a traditional 13-week contract or something less?
  • Do you have a guarantee of hours?
  • What’s the housing allowance?

These and other aspects must be clarified within your lease.

Every assignment for a travel nurse is described in the contract, which outlines every aspect of pay rate, duration of the assignment to specific conditions. Reading it through and asking questions before you sign is crucial. Travel contracts differ from those you might have received when you were a regular employee.

It is important to understand that travel nursing contracts look different than permanent staff contracts, as travel nursing offers tax-free benefits that permanent staff are not eligible for. Make sure you have a recruiter who can explain it to you.

5. Licensing/paperwork

Are you thinking of working in another state? Take a look at TravelNursing.com’s complete list of nursing boards in the states to get information on licensing requirements before you begin making a decision. State-specific licensure regulations may be complex.

However, staffing providers are dedicated to making licensure and other requirements easy. For instance, they host many documents you’ll need on the internet and have licensed specialists available to help you navigate the procedure.

If your state is an affiliate of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), it will simplify the licensing process for assignments in another Compact state. For more information, go to the NLC website or contact your recruiter.

6. Housing

After you’ve secured your job, it’s time to look into the available housing options. Many travel nurse companies provide free housing or private accommodations and offer several options depending on the area. If you’d like to pay for and arrange your accommodations, many will provide the opportunity to receive a monthly housing subsidy. Your options for housing could vary based on the people you are planning to bring along with you, such as family members and pets.

7. Packing

What do you need to take with your belongings? When packing your new, temporary residence, keeping things simple is the best way to ensure success. Furniture and other necessities are usually provided in corporate homes, so you should talk with your recruiter as a first step. He could provide instructions for packing or lists for those new to traveling. Other travelers may also offer an insider’s view of essential packing items.

Conclusion on a Career as a Travel Nurse

A travel nurse is an interesting career option for anyone, but these are the few things you need to be cautious about while stepping into this career.

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