A travel nurse is a licensed RN who works numerous short-term assignments that require travel (usually 13 weeks in duration). Assignments are often coordinated by a travel nursing company that match nurse with the staffing needs of various hospitals, physicians’ offices, or clinics.
First, you must obtain a nursing degree and pass the NCLEX to become an RN. Then, you must gain experience in your specialty. Most travel nursing companies will not take a nurse with less than two years clinical experience. The last step is to find and register with a travel nurse company that suits your individual needs.
Being a travel nurse is very exciting, especially if you’re flexible with your time, family, and social life. Hospitals know that competition is stiff and often put a lot on the table to attract you. You get generally higher pay, paid lodging, preferred scheduling, and bonuses (such a loyalty programs). Assignments are typically 13-15 weeks in duration—long enough to get out and enjoy your new city, and maybe even make a few friends. The travel nursing lifestyle is best suited for those who can easily adapt to new surroundings, are flexible with location, and also those who are confident in their clinical skills.
On the other hand, you might enjoy a full-time position at a single healthcare facility if you enjoy being a part of and establishing a hospital culture, if you have a family, or simply are content with your current location. When asked to compare their experience working as travelers to their experience practicing in permanent nursing positions, 52% of respondents said that travel nursing is more rewarding than working in a permanent job; 42% percent thought travel nursing and permanent work are equally rewarding; and 6% believed permanent work is more rewarding than travel nursing.
You can search through Tailored Healthcare Staffing’s extensive database of travel nurse positions by specialty and location. You can also register with THS, and we’ll send you information on jobs in your specialty via email.
The average length of an assignment is 13 weeks in duration. While you are obligated to finish your assignment, there is no contract binding you to work more assignments after. You can take a new assignment right after your last, or take a year-long break. It’s all up to you.