California Travel Nurse Jobs Where Cost of Living is Reasonable

For many RNs looking into travel nurse jobs, destination No. 1 on the list is California. With year-round sunshine, pleasant temperatures, the glitz and glam of Hollywood, and access to many of the America’s stunning natural wonders, who wouldn’t want to spend 13 weeks (the average length of an assignment) in the Golden State?

Sooner or later, though, reality hits.

What seems like a great idea at first loses its luster once cost analysis begins. Sure, most California travel nurse assignments pay very well compared to the national average, but the cost of living in major cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco quickly eats away at take-home pay. So, for many travel nurses, California remains but a dream as they pursue more profitable assignments elsewhere in the U.S.

At Tailored Healthcare Staffing, we get it—California sounds great in theory, but doesn’t add up when your first priority is growing your bank account. However, there are assignments in California that pay well where you won’t be dishing out an absurd amount for housing… you just have to know where to look.

Central Valley Travel Nursing Jobs

Okay, let’s get this out of the way—you won’t be going Los Angeles or San Francisco if pocketing cash is your top concern. Those are great destination cities worth taking assignments in at some point in your travel nursing career, but you should likely treat those opportunities as extended vacations (where you’re also working, of course) rather than super-profitable jobs. Where you should be looking is California’s Central Valley, home to high-paying travel nurse jobs in areas with relatively low cost of living.

Below is a map of what many consider to be the Central Valley. For our purposes, we’re going to focus on the corridor between Sacramento and Bakersfield (Kern County).

Central Valley California Travel Nurse Jobs Map

Why the Central Valley?

The Central Valley is where you’ll find the best bang for your buck as a travel nurse. For example, in Bakersfield, the cost of living is just 5 percent above the national average (according to Payscale.com), while travel nurse pay is similar to what you’d find in more popular major Californian cities. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, the cost of living is 43 percent higher than the national average. San Francisco? 80 percent higher than the national average!

Bakersfield Travel Nurse Jobs

Bakersfield is a large city in its own right, with population nearing 380,000 and so much to do locally. What’s more, for the nurse not wanting to sacrifice the “California experience” by traveling in inland, Bakersfield is within very reasonable driving distance of Los Angeles (2 hours), San Francisco (4.5 hours), and San Diego (4.5) hours, making it a perfect home base for those overnight or weekend trips around the state. For the outdoor enthusiasts, Sequoia National Park is less than 2 hours away. As mentioned above, the cost of living in Bakersfield is just 5 percent above the national average, making it a choice destination for RNs hoping to capitalize on California’s generally-high pay.

See Bakersfield Travel Jobs

Fresno Travel Nurse Jobs

Located in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley, Fresno is a leading agricultural area in the U.S. What’s more, Fresno is the fifth-largest city in California (34th-largest in the country), boasting over half a million people. The cost of living in Fresno is just 6 percent higher than the national average, making this a fantastic community in which to pursue a travel nursing assignment. Fresno is the closest major city to Yosemite National Park, a true bucket-list destination for hikers, climbers, and those who simply appreciate nature’s phenomenal beauty.

See Fresno Travel Jobs

Modesto Travel Nurse Jobs

Surrounded by fertile farmland, Modesto is quickly growing as a commuter community as residents travel into San Francisco, Fresno, and the San Francisco Bay Area for work. With a cost of living that’s 9 percent higher than the national average, you’re not getting quite the deal on housing you may see in Bakersfield or Fresno, but you’re less than a 2-hour drive from San Francisco. Modesto is a warm city (the average high for December and January is 55° F) with few rainy days.

See Modesto Travel Jobs

Find Your Perfect California Travel Nurse Job

While we’ve highlighted just three Central Valley cities above, the opportunities are almost endless. Whether you prefer a Stockton travel nurse job or a stay in Merced, a California travel assignment can be extremely profitable for RNs willing to work outside of the state’s largest few cities. Click below to see all available California travel nurse jobs now, or click one of the buttons above to see a filtered view of Bakersfield, Fresno, or Modesto travel nurse jobs.

Browse California Travel Jobs

What Does a Travel Nurse Do?

As an experienced RN, you’ve likely worked alongside travel nurses. At a minimum, you’ve probably heard the term surface from time to time. But what does a travel nurse do?

You can find this answer and more in the Travel Nurse Academy from Tailored Healthcare Staffing. As a preview of all this educational resource has to offer RNs interested in learning more about travel nursing—including things like how housing and pay works, where travel nurses go, and more—here’s a sneak peak into the topic “What Does a Travel Nurse Do?”

 

Hospitals and healthcare systems across the country—particularly in a few concentrated states—are experiencing a shortage in qualified nursing talent. What’s more, that shortage is expected to grow over the next decade. When a hospital or healthcare network has such a shortage and needs to address its staffing issue quickly, one solution the facility or system may consider is the hiring of a short-term contract RN—a travel nurse.

A travel nurse is a temporary, contract employee that is hired at a facility far enough away from his or her permanent residence that it would be unreasonable for the nurse to commute home daily to sleep. This can be in the same state, even, as long as this guideline as met; for example, a nurse who permanently resides in Sacramento, California, could take a travel position in San Diego. Travel nursing assignments typically last 13 weeks, but the length can vary depending on the needs of the host facility or healthcare system.

Nurses choose to travel for a variety of reasons, not the least of which are the:

  • Typically-higher pay than an RN could earn in a permanent staff role;
  • Chance to see different regions of the country for 13 weeks at a time;
  • Opportunity to escape current day-to-day hospital politics and drama.

Learn more about life as a travel nurse with the Travel Nurse Academy from THS.

Go to the Travel Nurse Academy Now

5 Best Shoes for Nurses: Super Footwear for Super RNs

Super Nurses deserve super footwear! As a nurse, you’re on your feet for up to 12 hours at a time, walking, standing, and even running. That’s why un-supportive shoes can mean poor posture and pain, especially after several days of work in a row.

At Tailored Healthcare Staffing, we want to help you take care of your feet. A good pair of nursing shoes can make a long shift a lot more comfortable, leading to a better day overall. Here are five top-rated nursing shoes Super Nurses like you should consider before stepping onto the hospital floor:

1. Dansko

Danskos have been popular nursing shoes for years, and many nurses swear by them. While they have many styles, they’re most known for their nursing clogs. They have a two-inch rocker bottom to help your foot roll through each step, are great at helping absorb shock, and have plenty of toe room. They come in a variety of colors and patterns, and last-but-not-least, they last for ages.

Get Danskos on Amazon.

2. Alegria

Among RNs, Alegria is another popular shoe brand that uses memory foam, cork, and latex in the footbed. This combination both molds to your foot and helps absorb shock from your steps. If your footbed wears out, it’s also replaceable, which means you don’t need to give up on your favorite shoes. Alegria has many styles to choose from and some adorable patterns. It’s a win for both style and comfort.

Get Alegrias on Amazon.

3. Nurse Mates

If you’re not a fan of clog-style shoes, check out Nurse Mates. These shoes have plenty of cushioning and yet are incredibly lightweight. Most styles come in black, white, gray, or navy. Nurse Mates are both stain and slip-resistant, making them a practical choice for nurses who place high value in comfort.

Get Nurse Mates on Amazon.

4. Timberland Renova

Timberland actually makes some great styles of professional shoes. The Renova style is a favorite of many nurses, especially those who have high arches. If you have high arches, you know how tricky it can be to find a shoe that supports your foot. Renovas have a specially-designed toe box and are treated with 3M Scotchgard to keep your new kicks stain-free.

Get Timerbland Renovas on Amazon.

5. Nike Flex Running Shoes

Nike Flex running shoes are another option loved by many nurses. If you prefer a sneaker-style nursing shoe and a lower heel, this might be the pair for you. Nike Flex running shoes are lightweight, and the upper part is designed to fit your foot like a sock.

Get Nike Flex Running Shoes on Amazon.

More Travel Nursing Tips from THS

Want more helpful Super Nurse info? Visit the Tailored Healthcare Staffing travel nurse blog today for advice and information on life as a traveler, new job opportunities, and more.

See More Travel Nurse Tips

Which State RN Licenses Take Longest to Get?

Whether you’re a first-time travel nurse or a seasoned veteran, the matter of obtaining licensure in a new state you’d like to work in is always a hurdle. In some states, like Georgia, Kentucky, or Minnesota, a permanent license from the state’s board of nursing can usually be obtained within 2 weeks. For this particular list, however, we’ll discuss the states that have the longest licensure windows, on average, for nurses who reside in another state.

What about Compact States?

If you’re an experienced travel nurse, you likely are familiar with the term “compact state license.” A compact state is one that has enacted the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) through legislation, enabling any permanent resident of that state to work in other compact states without having to obtain additional nursing licensure. For example, a nurse whose permanent residence is in Baltimore, Maryland, can work a travel assignment in Augusta, Maine, without having to obtain additional licensure. Why? Because both states are members of the Nurse Licensure Compact.

See a map and full explanation of compact state traveling by clicking here.

If a nurse resides in a state that is not an NLC member, but wishes to travel to a state that is an NLC member, they must apply for licensure in that state just as they would anywhere else. Upon obtaining a license in that compact state, however, they do not have the same access to all other compact states, as someone who resides in an NLC member state would—they only have licensure for that single state.

5 States that Take Longest to Get an RN License In

Now that we have a general understanding of NLC member states and who can travel on a compact license, let’s look at the states that can be most time-consuming for a nurse when trying to obtain permanent licensure. Each timespan listed is an average—in some cases licensure can be obtained more quickly, while in some circumstances, it could take even longer.

1. Ohio (4-6 months)

Surprised California doesn’t top the list? The Buckeye State actually takes the cake as the longest state to get licensed in, on average, and with attractive Midwestern cities like Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland, many nurses in the surrounding states (and beyond) go through Ohio’s long licensure process. Like most states, Ohio requires a fingerprint and background check. Learn more by visiting the Ohio Board of Nursing website.

2. California (3-6 months)

Ah, California—a bucket-list destination for many travel nurses. With promises of gorgeous weather and high pay (though be sure to consider the high cost of living in many major cities), California is the state our recruiters are most-asked about when the topic of licensure comes up. With a similar (though sometimes shorter) time frame to Ohio’s licensure process, travel nurses interested in California jobs must take the long-view. Consider applying for licensure first while taking another assignment elsewhere as the process plays out. Once you obtain your California RN license, you can then begin your Golden State job search (ask a THS recruiter about California cities where you can get the most bang for your buck). Please keep in mind that California does require fingerprints.

To learn more about obtaining a California nursing licensure by endorsement, check out this recent article from THS. You can also explore the California Board of Nursing website for more information.

3. Maryland (10 weeks)

Before diving too deeply into the Maryland RN licensure process, it’s important to again recognize that Maryland is a compact state. Therefore, if your permanent residence is in another NLC member state and you have a compact nursing license, you can work as a travel nurse in Maryland without additional licensure.

If you do not already have a compact state license and are interested in working in Maryland, however, be prepared to wait 10 weeks, on average, for a Maryland RN license. With excellent opportunities for travelers in Baltimore, the wait is worth it for many nurses. Learn more about the fingerprint and background check process and more on the Maryland Board of Nursing website.

4. Maine (8-10 weeks)

Another compact state, Maine is home to beautiful Acadia National Park, world-famous lobster festivals, and many quaint seaside towns. For these reasons and more Maine assignments have become a hot commodity in the traveler community, especially in the summer and fall months. If you’re interested in working as a travel RN in Maine (and you don’t have a compact state nursing license), expect to wait 8-10 weeks for licensure. Fingerprints and a background check are required; learn more about the process on the Maine Board of Nursing website.

5. Alaska (8 weeks)

The Last Frontier is calling! While that may be the case, a nurse interested in working in Alaska must first go through the (on average) 8-week RN licensure process. Alaska, like all the aforementioned states, requires fingerprints and a background check from nurses applying for a license. Learn more about obtaining your license in Alaska on the state’s Board of Nursing website.

Noteworthy Contenders for Longest Time to Licensure

While these states didn’t make the top 5, they were very close, and are worth keeping in mind as a travel nurse.

  • Illinois (6-8 weeks)
  • Michigan (6-8 weeks)
  • New Jersey (6-8 weeks)
  • New York (6-8 weeks)
  • Indiana (3-8 weeks)
  • Nebraska (2-10 weeks) (compact)
  • Iowa (2-8 weeks) (compact)

Questions about Obtaining a Specific RN License?

Whether you’re interested in traveling to Ohio or Oklahoma, California or Connecticut, Alaska or Alabama—you get the point—an experienced Tailored Healthcare Staffing can provide the licensure answers you need.

Contact us today to be put in touch with a THS recruiter.

Contact THS Now

Why a Bakersfield Travel Nursing Job Should Be on Your Assignment Wish List

If you’re dreaming of a super travel nursing assignment in California, cities like San Diego, Los Angeles, or San Francisco probably come to mind. But Bakersfield, set along the Kern River about 114 miles north of L.A., is a destination that really needs to be on your travel nursing shortlist.

In addition to being an attractive area with a relatively low cost of living (and yet generally higher pay), there are so many great things to do outside of the facility during a Bakersfield travel nursing job. The experienced sidekicks at Tailored Healthcare Staffing outline just a few of these opportunities below:

1. One of America’s Greatest Treasures is a Short Drive Away

Sequoia National Park, about an hour and 45 minutes from Bakersfield, offers miles of hiking trails that wind through giant old-growth sequoias. Take the trek to Moro Rock and capture a selfie with the incredible view of the Continental Divide from over 6,700 feet. Of course, the trees are the highlight here. One of the most impressive areas is the Giant Forest, boasting three square miles of colossal trees that include General Sherman, the single largest tree on the planet alive today, estimated to be 2,200 years old.

2. Experience Thrills at Kern County Raceway Park

When you’re in the mood for speed—or just want to see some impressive racing—Kern County Raceway Park will be at your doorstep. It hosts car shows and racing events like the K&N Pro Series West and NASCAR’s Whelen All-American Series.

3. See Native Wildlife in the California Living Museum

The California Living Museum in Bakersfield guarantees sightings of many of the state’s native plants and animals, set across 14 beautifully-landscaped acres. There are black bears, birds of prey, reptiles, endangered desert bighorn sheep, and an award-winning cat exhibit which features mountain lions and bobcats. Various environments were created here that replicate the scenery and natural environment of California with a special focus on Bakersfield and Kern County.

4. Star-Spotting and More in Los Angeles

Southern California’s largest city is about an hour and 45-minute drive south of Bakersfield, offering a wide range of attractions for a fun overnight excursion or an exciting day trip during your Bakersfield travel nursing assignment. Soak up the sun and the sand on one of the area’s many beautiful golden stretches, window shop in Beverly Hills and West Hollywood while keeping an eye out for the stars, dine on haute cuisine, visit world-class museums, and so much more—the list is nearly endless.

5. Explore History in a Living Ghost Town

Located in eastern Kern County, Ransburg is a living ghost town, with its population only a tiny fraction of the 3,500 that resided there during its peak in the late 19th-century. Popular with history buffs as a former gold-mining town, its dusty streets are lined with antique stores, an opera house, a general store with an old-fashioned soda fountain, and an authentic western saloon where you can sip a refreshing drink and dine on tasty pub grub in a historic atmosphere.

6. Drive the Scenic Lake Isabella / Brush Creek / California Hot Springs Loop

This 163-mile drive that takes a little over four hours to complete will bring you to Lake Isabella, multiple natural hot springs, and the Brush Creek Campground, with its day use area an ideal spot for a picnic along Brush Creek. From there, travel west along the twisty road that parallels other pretty creeks through tiny towns like Johnsondale and California Hot Springs.

Bakersfield Travel Nursing Jobs

Ready to lock down your travel nursing job in Bakersfield? Get started by clicking the button below and browse open positions on the Tailored Healthcare Staffing job board.

Go to the Job Board Now

How to Get a California RN License if You’re Already Licensed in Another State

A California travel nurse job is, understandably, atop the professional wish list of many RNs. California is a massive state with many travel nursing positions that offer great pay, world-class cities, and plenty of natural wonders. However, obtaining a California nursing license takes a bit of extra time and effort.

Here are the steps to apply for California licensure by endorsement if you already hold a nursing license in another state.

1. Fill Out an Application

The application for California endorsement may be completed online or in paper form to be mailed to the Board of Nursing (BON). If enough fees are paid (an extra $100), the BON will issue a temporary license while you’re waiting for a permanent license after submitting your application.

If you’re applying online, you’ll need to make an account with California’s BreEZe account. Click here for an overview of what the online application entails.

2. Complete Fingerprints and Payment

Those already in California or close enough to visit a Livescan center in California may opt to complete their fingerprints at a center and pay fees there.

Nurses outside of California can request that fingerprint cards be mailed to them using this link: https://www.dca.ca.gov/webapps/rn/requests.php. The California Board of Nursing recommends that you bring your fingerprint cards to a law enforcement agency (who may charge a fee) to have them collected using black ink only. You’ll need to mail your fingerprints with a check or money order for $49.00 payable to the Board of Registered Nursing.

3. Submit a 2-Inch by 2-Inch Passport Photo

If you’re filling out the online application, there is an option to attach a photo file to it. If you’re going the paper application route, mail your photo to the Board of Nursing along with your application.

4. Verify Your Nursing License

The Board of Nursing needs to verify that you do indeed have a nursing license in another state if you’re applying for endorsement. Many states use the Nursys verification site, which charges a fee: https://www.nursys.com/NLV/NLVSearch.aspx.

If your state doesn’t participate in Nursys, you’ll need to fill out a license verification form provided by your state’s BON and state that you want verification sent to the California BON.

5. Request Your Transcripts

You’ll need to fill out transcript request forms from the nursing school(s) you attended. Transcripts need to be sent directly from the school to the California BON.

6. Letters or Documents for Discipline or Convictions

If you’ve ever had any criminal convictions or discipline action on your nursing license, you’ll need to send the California BON letters of explanation, and details about rehabilitation.

7. Pay Fees

California charges a $350 application fee, and an additional $100 fee if you’d like to apply for  temporary license. If you’re applying online, you’ll have the option to pay your application fee online. If filling out the paper application, you’ll need to mail a check or money order to the Board of Registered Nursing.

California Travel Nurse Jobs

Applying for California nursing license endorsement takes a bit more legwork than many other states, but the rewards are great—you can take your lifesaving abilities to the beautiful Golden State!

Interested in obtaining your California RN license? Click the button below to see the California travel nurse jobs that await! Even if you haven’t yet started the licensure process, contact THS to discuss available opportunities.

Browse California Travel Jobs

Why Do Most Travel Nursing Jobs Require 2 Years of Experience?

Many new nurses begin their careers with a goal in mind: become a travel nurse and see the country while providing lifesaving care. Travel nursing is exciting, pays well, and is great for the resume.

While it’s a great goal to have, it’s important to wait until you have enough experience as a nurse. Most travel nursing job applications require candidates to have at least two years of full-time experience as an RN. Some facilities may accept candidates with less than two years, but it’s very rare to see any travel nurse jobs available to RNs with less than 18 months of full-time experience.

Travel Nurse Experience

As a travel nurse, you must adapt to a new environment quickly in only a few days of orientation (or less time, even). After those days are up, you’re still free to ask your fellow nurses for help, but you’re functioning as an independent nurse. In a short time, you need to learn where supply items are located, get to know your fellow nurses and coworkers, and learn the layout of the hospital. Certain pieces of equipment and supplies may function differently than you’re used to, and you may also need to learn a new charting system. All of these things to absorb in such a short amount of time can overwhelm a nurse without enough experience.

After two years of working as a nurse, you develop your own system of managing your workload and your patients. For example, you may find it’s helpful to keep a “brain sheet” with patient details, med times, or tasks. You become more confident and knowledgeable in your role as a nurse with experience, and as a result, you are better able to manage day-to-day stresses and respond to different types of emergencies in true super-nurse fashion. Waiting to travel until you have at least two years of experience will give both you and your patients a better chance of success.

Ready to Learn More about Travel Nursing?

If you’re considering travel nursing for the first time, the Travel Nurse Academy is a great place to start. Here you can find informative videos on a variety of practical topics, such as how travel nurse pay, housing, and benefits work. Click the button below to go to the Travel Nurse Academy now!

Go to the Travel Nurse Academy Now

Compact State License: What It Is and Why You Need One

The United States is on the brink of a nursing shortage of monumental proportions, with some areas already feeling the crunch more than others. Thankfully, nursing is a portable profession—an experienced nurse can step into nearly any hospital or clinic and, with brief on-the-job training, practice safely all over the country.

This allows nurses to fill crucial roles as travel nurses, disaster response nurses, or nurses who choose to put down roots in a new location. However, red-tape can seriously hinder a nurse’s ability to provide care to patients who desperately need their services.

What Is a Compact State Nursing License?

Early in the 20th century, the U.S. legislated that boards of nursing in each individual state would govern the practice of the nurses in their home states to ensure close oversight. As the decades have passed, clinical oversight has become easier as technology has made the world smaller.

The 21st century brought with it a new concept: the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). This allowed nurses who had obtained licenses in one of the states that adopted the NLC to practice nursing in any other NLC state, commonly known as a compact state, without needing an additional license. In addition to providing in-person care in the NLC states, nurses can participate in the ever-growing telehealth practice. The Enhanced NLC (eNLC) was adopted early in 2018 to expand the number of states as well as the requirements for licensure in these states.

Nurses who pass the NCLEX, meet the Uniform Licensure Requirements (ULRs) set forth by the eNLC, and apply for a nursing license in one of the 29 states in the enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact are the proud owners of a multistate license. If you have one of these multistate licenses and wish to take a travel nurse assignment in another eNLC state, you are legally allowed to do so without additional licensure.

Nurses who do not have a multistate license and wish to practice in an eNLC (or non-eNLC) state are more than welcome to do so, but they must apply for licensure by endorsement in the chosen state. The process is the same for nurses who nurses who have a multistate license but would like to take a travel nurse assignment in a non-compact state.

Which States are Part of the New eNLC?

Here is a map and list of the states in the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact:

Compact state nursing license map

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New HAmpshire
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, West Virginia, or Wyoming are a new to the eNLC. Therefore, if your license was obtained before 2018 (and you want to practice in another compact state), you must apply on your state’s board of nursing website for a multistate licensure.

If your license is in one of the original compact states other than Rhode Island, you have a multistate license and are free to practice in other Compact states. Rhode Island did not ratify the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact, so nurses with a Rhode Island license now have a single-state license. As previously stated, these nurses are not barred from practicing in other states, they are just required to apply for, and obtain, licensure by endorsement in their desired state.

Ultimately, the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact is breaking down barriers to care by putting nurses where they can do the most good without wasting time on red tape. Perhaps the new generation of nurses will see the entire country come together in the eNLC to increase access to care across each state.

Search Compact State Travel Nurse Jobs

Have an eNLC compact license? View the THS job board now to see open positions, and check the “Search Compact States” option to see only compact state opportunities!

Go to the Job Board Now

References:

Facts about the NLC: Nurse Licensure Compact. https://www.ncsbn.org/NLC_Facts-FINAL.pdf. Accessed June 15, 2018.

Original Nurse Licensure Compact. https://www.ncsbn.org/nurse-licensure-compact.htm. Accessed June 15, 2018.

Nurse Licensure Compact: Fact Sheet for Faculty and Students. https://www.ncsbn.org/Faculty_and_Students_Fact_Sheet_New_4252017.pdf. Accessed June 15, 2018.

Becoming a Travel Nurse: 6 Steps to Get You Started

Picture this—you’ve been working as a registered nurse for a few years now (maybe more), and it hits you. You need to switch things up.

Whether you desire higher pay, a change in scenery, or just an escape from the hospital politics that are wearing you down, there may be a lucrative alternative to your current daily grind: travel nursing.

You’ve likely heard about travel nursing here and there, especially if you work alongside travelers at your current position or have friends who have taken travel jobs. With so many unknowns, however, getting started—or even exploring the option further—seems overwhelming.

Sound like your current situation? Then have no fear, the super sidekicks at Tailored Healthcare Staffing are here!

Here are six simple steps you can take to learn more about the realities of travel nursing and what it takes to land that first travel assignment.

1. Visit the Travel Nurse Academy

There’s no better way to start learning about the basics of travel nursing than from a source created specifically for first-time travelers. The Travel Nurse Academy has an easy-to-use suite of videos covering topics RNs who are just starting to explore travel nursing find incredibly helpful. Some video topics include:

To visit the Travel Nurse Academy now, click here.

2. Talk to travel nurses you know.

This step obviously depends on whether or not you know any travelers. If you have any friends, family, or co-workers who have travel experience, ask them about it. What is it like? What drew you to traveling? Would you recommend it? By asking someone who’s been there, you can set much more realistic expectations and put many of your concerns to rest. They may also be able to provide you with tips they wish they’d have known when starting out, and could even put you in contact with their travel nursing company or recruiter (if they’re happy with them, of course).

If you don’t know any travelers, no worries! We recommend you start asking your nurse friends if they have anyone in their circles with travel experience. Leverage the networks of both your friends and co-workers—odds are pretty high that at least one person can put you in touch with an RN that has travel experience.

The key in both scenarios here: asking questions. Try to get candid answers from nurses who have been in your current situation. Doing so will give you a head start.

3. Research travel nursing online—but only on trusted websites.

Ah, our good friend Google. For many RNs considering travel jobs, the first thing they’ll do is turn to their preferred search engine for answers. While there are many valuable resources on the web for travel nurses that can be found via basic search (you may have even landed on this article from Google), there are many sites built with the intention to sell you on a specific job or travel nurse company, sometimes causing the information they present to be biased, muddied, or even false. Simply put, use your best judgement when evaluating online travel nurse resources, and consider whether or not the publisher has any incentive to mislead you.

Not all is doom and gloom on the Internet, though. Two sites we highly recommend for quality, unbiased travel nursing information: BluePipes and Highway Hypodermics. Both provide very useful info for new and experienced travelers from the viewpoint of actual, unbiased nurses. You can also find things like travel nurse company rankings on these sites that are compiled from reviews submitted by active travel nurses.

4. Polish up your résumé.

Even if you’re a few weeks (or even months) away from talking to a travel nursing company, start preparing your résumé. Depending on how long you’ve been at your current position, your résumé or CV may need some serious updates. This ever-important document will provide key decision-makers at medical facilities you’re interested in traveling at a first impression of you as an RN.

Check out this article on building a solid travel nurse resume, with tips on work history, EMR skills, licenses, and more.

5. Research the licensing requirements in states you’d like to travel in.

Speaking of licenses, be sure you understanding the nurse licensing requirements of any state you may want to travel to. This is one of the more daunting tasks to tackle as new traveler, especially if you’ve only practiced as an RN in a single state up to this point. If you work in a state that’s a member of the eNLC compact license agreement, you may be able to practice in many other U.S. states without additional licensure.

One thing to keep in mind that may ease your concerns when it comes to licensing: Most travel nursing companies will help you get licensed in the state you want to travel to. In some cases, they may even pay any fees involved. You should visit that state’s board of nursing website to see the requirements for yourself, but don’t hesitate to ask a travel nurse recruiter about licensing, as well.

6. Talk to a First-Time Travel Nurse Specialist.

If and when you feel ready to talk to a travel nurse recruiter, we encourage you to sign up for the First-Time Travel Nurse Program at Tailored Healthcare Staffing. We’ve assembled a team who specializes in working with RNs completely new to the travel world. These First-Time Travel Nurse Specialists can answer any and all questions you have about travel nursing. (They’ve heard just about everything—no question is too far out there!) They’ll also provide you with helpful resources so you can make informed decisions about your career as a potential new traveler. Most importantly, our First-Time Travel Nurse Specialists will not be pushy—their first priority is to educate.

If you’re ready to speak with a First-Time Travel Nurse Specialist, join the First-Time Travel Nurse Program today!

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Busting 5 Common Travel Nurse Myths

If you’re considering travel nursing for the first time, you’ll likely turn to co-workers and friends for information. While these people can often give you an excellent glimpse into the world of travel nursing, especially if they have travel experience themselves, there are unfortunate situations where myths are spread. Travel nursing is ever-evolving, and one RN’s personal experience as a traveler may be completely different from another’s simply because the two nurses worked with different agencies or at different facilities.

To clear up these misconceptions about travel nursing and help you make educated decisions, our team of recruiters is here to bust five common myths!

Myth #1: You won’t have important benefits like health insurance or retirement plans.

Completely false! Reputable travel nursing agencies offer quality health insurance plans and things like dental and vision coverage. Because of the popularity of travel nursing, top agencies are now also providing 401(k) and retirement plans for their nurses. You are traveling to hospitals with high-priority needs, and you should be rewarded for your hard work! Some nurses fall in love with traveling and experiencing new locations, so they decide to make travel nursing a long-term career. Because of the excellent benefits packages now offered, traveling is now a lucrative option for those who love to explore.

Myth #2: Working a lot of temporary travel assignments looks bad on a resumé.

Exactly the opposite! Having a variety of nursing experience is always an asset. Travel nursing actually makes you more marketable because it highlights your adaptability. Nurses are known for their ability to “work anywhere,” and those who travel actually do! Potential employers like candidates who utilize their expertise and have quality, meaningful experience in the field. Working in a wide range of facilities can give nurses invaluable experience that can be taken with them anywhere! Additionally, working several travel nursing assignments in different places can help the nurse get a better understanding of what they really want in a permanent position.

Myth #3: Travel nurses have to move every 13 weeks.

Not necessarily. 13 weeks is generally the standard length of a travel contract. Sometimes, however, travel nurses are given the option to extend their contract if the hospital/facility is a good fit and the need remains. One of the best perks of being a travel nurse is the flexibility. If their personal life and finances permit it, a travel nurse can take time off between contracts. It’s important to plan ahead with your recruiter to figure out how to best meet your goals.

Myth #4: You don’t have much control over where you go.

The beauty of travel nursing is that you are in control. While getting a contract within your preferences cannot be guaranteed, most recruiters work diligently to match you with the best available options. That being said, you always have the option of accepting an offer or not. The more flexible you are with shift preference and location, the more likely you are to find a job quickly that meets your needs. Agencies cannot force you to take on an assignment! You have the power to choose your own assignments and make the best decisions for your lifestyle and goals.

Myth #5: There are only travel nursing jobs in big cities.

Small town, rural hospitals get short-staffed, too! There are travel nurse positions open throughout the country, not just places like New York City or Los Angeles. Some locations are more popular than others, and may have a greater competition for contracts. Also, simply because of city population size, some areas are more saturated with open jobs. Traveling can give nurses the opportunity to work in very different atmospheres, from level I trauma centers in urban areas to small community hospitals in farm towns.

Have more questions about travel nursing? Be sure to check out the Travel Nurse Academy from THS, featuring videos on travel nurse pay, housing, medical insurance, and more!

Go to the Travel Nurse Academy Now