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How to Become a Travel Nurse - A Complete Guide

May 1, 2024

Nursing has always been a cornerstone of essential service within the healthcare system, with the demand for skilled and adaptable nurses continuously growing. Travel nurses, in particular, have become increasingly vital, providing a dynamic solution to the ever-changing healthcare landscape. These professionals bridge staffing gaps, bring expertise to diverse settings, and ensure high-quality care across the nation. In this guide, we'll explore the journey of becoming a travel nurse, highlighting the requirements, benefits, and unique opportunities that this career path offers.

When it comes to choosing a career as a Travel Nurse, the options can seem intimidating, however, Advantis Medical cares, and wants to help you have a positive recruitment experience.

What is a Traveling Nurse?

A registered nurse (RN) who accepts temporary assignments at various healthcare facilities and locations across the nation is known as a traveling nurse. In order to fill in temporarily for absent permanent staff or a nursing shortage, typically for a period of 8-26 weeks, traveling nurses often work in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and other healthcare institutions. They must be able to operate in a variety of settings and possess the same credentials as registered nurses. In order to fill in during periods of high demand, such as during a crisis or in seasonal regions, traveling nurses are frequently required. They typically make more money than regular nurses and may look forward to a fun, dynamic work atmosphere.

What Does a Travel Nurse Do?

Travel nurses provide patient care services such as medication administration, vital sign monitoring, medical treatment, and providing education and support to patients and their families. Also, they frequently collaborate with other medical experts to ensure that the right treatment is being provided. They work with doctors, surgeons, and other nurses. In addition to appointment setting and patient transfers, travel nurses may also be in charge of general administrative support.

Should I Become a Travel Nurse?

There are many different reasons why people may choose to become a Travel Nurse. While it may not be the right choice for everyone, many people have found success and fulfillment by making the choice to become a Travel Nurse.

Top Reasons for Becoming a Travel Nurse

1. Travel

One of the number one reasons why people choose to become a Travel Nurse is to get to travel! A common regret that people have at the end of their lives is that they wished they traveled more, and by becoming a Travel Nurse, you can be sure to fulfill the desire to visit cities all over the country with travel nursing assignments.

2. Better Pay

By becoming a Travel Nurse, it is possible to bring your “supply” of expertise to a market with greater demand. Since the demand for certain types of nursing work is higher in some areas than others, it is possible to receive a higher salary for the same work, just by switching to a different city or travel contract!

3. Working at New Hospitals

While it may be comforting for some people to work at the same hospital for their whole career, others appreciate the experience of getting to work at different hospitals. The average contract for a Travel Nurse is about 13 weeks, so depending on how long you want to work in a given area, it is possible to work at 3 or 4 different hospitals a year!

4. Meeting New People

If you are an outgoing person then what may be a selling point for you is getting to meet and work with new people. Every new hospital you work at is full of opportunities to meet hundreds of new people, with hundreds of new perspectives to learn from.  

Additionally, Advantis Medical is committed to helping Allied Health Professionals find the best opportunities in interesting locations across the United States.

Top reasons to become a travel nurse listed.

Benefits of Becoming a Travel Nurse

While it is hard to quantify the experience of getting to travel for a living, there are plenty of benefits that come from becoming a Travel Nurse with Advantis Medical.

  • Travel Nurses can expect to be paid weekly, with direct deposit available on day 1
  • An industry-leading referral program, with unlimited earning potential for referring qualified registered nurses and allied health professionals
  • Medical, dental, and vision insurance packages
  • Access to 401k
  • Assistance with travel nurse housing
  • Highly competitive pay packages
  • The love, care, and attention that comes from being on the Advantis Medical team!

The world is yours to explore, and getting the opportunity to see more parts of the world is something that is hard to put a price on.  

The options available when it comes to being a travel nurse are endless, and Advantis Medical is committed to helping you find the best travel nursing job for you!

How Long Does it Take to Become a Travel Nurse?

The time it takes to become a Travel Nurse is entirely dependent on where you are in your nursing career, what kind of nursing degree you want, and what kind of nursing work you wish to do. Obviously, if you have not been to nursing school, it will take longer for you to begin as a Travel Nurse than if you already have a nursing degree.

How long does Nursing School take?

Simply put, there are two main routes to becoming a registered nurse, or RN.  

The first, and shorter route, to becoming an RN is by earning an Associate Nursing Degree, or ADN. An ADN typically takes 2 years to complete and can be done at a technical or community college.  

The slightly longer route to becoming an RN is through earning a BSN, or Bachelor of Science in Nursing. A BSN typically requires four years at a university but can be completed faster if you already have some college credits.  

If you have recently graduated from nursing school, take a look at our New Grad Nurse Guide for tips and information on beginning your new nursing career.

What degree do you Need to Become a Travel Nurse?

The first step to becoming a Travel Nurse is, of course, nursing school. There are hundreds of accredited nursing schools around the country, with each one offering different specialties. Choosing the right nursing school and degree is an important step to embarking on your journey as a Travel Nurse.  

The different degrees & certifications associated with nursing are:

  • Associates Degree in Nursing (ADN)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Having an idea of the type of degree you want will help you narrow down the choices of nursing schools and nurse specialties. Whichever path you take, you will have to pass the nursing board exam, called the NCLEX-RN.  

Steps to Becoming a Travel Nurse

Once you’ve earned your nursing degree, the next step is using your degree to find a travel nursing job. Advantis Medical has a great program in place for hiring qualified RNs and helping them to find the best fit available.  

1. Update your resume

Like applying for any job, it is helpful to have your resume ready to be reviewed, and although your resume may not get you hired on the spot for your first job, you want it to be updated to ensure your consideration.  

2. Practice interview questions

Preparing for an interview means having answers ready for when you are asked about gaps in employment, what your relevant skills are, and specific details about your experience and job duties. Employers value a strong interview, and having the skills to conduct yourself professionally and gracefully in a job interview is crucial to landing your dream job.

3. Prepare references

It is also helpful to have at least two references when applying to a travel nursing agency. Past supervisors or charge nurses make for great references, and a good reference goes a long way. It may even be helpful to tell your references ahead of time that you are listing them, so that they are expecting the call, and can have something prepared to say about you.

The landscape of healthcare workforce distribution in the United States has been meticulously studied and projected, highlighting both current and future challenges. The Bureau of Health Workforce has detailed that across various healthcare disciplines, there are significant projected shortages over the next 15 years. These include a nationwide shortage of 337,970 registered nurses and 139,940 physicians, among others, with nonmetropolitan areas expected to face the most substantial shortages. For example, by 2036, there is anticipated to be a 14% shortage of registered nurses in nonmetropolitan areas, compared to 8% in metropolitan areas, and a staggering 56% shortage of physicians in nonmetro areas​ (Bureau of Health Workforce)​.

What is the Salary for a Travel Nurse?

In the dynamic field of travel nursing, compensation reflects the high demand for specialized skills and the flexibility to meet healthcare needs in various locations. The earning potential for travel nurses remains robust, with salary packages that often surpass those of permanent positions. Factors such as geographical location, specialty areas, and the specific needs of healthcare facilities contribute to the variability in pay. Current industry trends show a promising outlook for travel nurses, with competitive salaries and comprehensive benefits packages that underscore the value of their essential contributions to healthcare.

Challenges of Becoming a Travel Nurse

  • Fast-paced Environment: Being a nurse in any hospital is not for the faint of heart. The healthcare industry requires that workers can make informed quick decisions, adapt to new variables in the workplace, and remain level-headed amongst the chaos of a hospital.
  • Constant Travel: Being a Travel Nurse means that you will be working in multiple locations throughout the year, which can be challenging for some people. Being away from friends and family for months at a time can take its toll if you are not ready to be separated from the ones you love for such long periods of time.  
  • Adapting to new Environments: Change isn’t easy for everyone, especially when your environment is constantly changing. Adapting to new environments is a skill that not everyone has, but is crucial to becoming a Travel Nurse. Your ability to deal with change will help determine your success as a Travel Nurse.
  • Cultural Differences: For every new hospital you work at, there will be a new group of people who are used to doing things a certain way, which can sometimes make you feel like an outsider. It is typical for travel nurses to feel unwelcome in new environments, unfortunately, which can deter some nurses from taking new travel assignments.  

Every career path will have its own set of challenges, and becoming a Travel Nurse is no exception. Advantis Medical is here to ensure that you are connected to the best opportunities available.

Start Travel Nursing Now!

Travel Nursing is an exciting way to use your knowledge and expertise to help people all over the country while getting to experience new environments. One of the best parts about Travel Nursing is that if you are not happy with an assignment, it is not permanent, and you can use your experience to find an assignment better suited for you.  

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