An Introduction to Travel Nursing: Your Guide to Getting Started

Are you thinking of becoming a travel nurse? If so, you have made a great decision! 

Travel nursing is a great way to see the country and make money at the same time. In this guide, we will provide you with everything you need to know about getting started in travel nursing. 

We’ll discuss topics such as licensing requirements, finding work, and preparing for your first assignment. So whether you are just starting out or are considering making the switch to travel nursing, this guide is for you!

Table of Contents

What is Travel Nursing and What are the Benefits?

Travel nursing is a great way to see the country and make money at the same time. Travel nurses are nurses who work on a contract basis in various locations around the country. They fill in for staff nurses who are on vacation, on leave of absence, or who have resigned. Travel nursing is a great way to see different parts of the country and to get paid for it!

The benefits of travel nursing include:

  • The ability to see different parts of the country
  • The ability to work in a variety of settings
  • The ability to make good money
  • The ability to take time off between assignments
  • The ability to meet new people

If you are a nurse who is looking for an adventure, then travel nursing is definitely for you!

How do I Become a Travel Nurse?

The first step to becoming a travel nurse is to obtain your RN license. You can do this by taking the NCLEX-RN exam.

Once you have your RN license, you will need to work a minimum of one to two years and be completely independent in practice. You will receive minimum training while on assignment (typically a few hours to two shifts). This means you will need a comprehensive understanding of the acuity you are working on in order to be successful.

The next step is to find a travel nursing agency. There are many agencies out there, so it is important to do your research to find the one that is right for you. Once you have found an agency, they will help you with the rest of the process, including finding assignments and getting you licensed in the state where you will be working.

What are the Licensing Requirements for Travel Nurses?

In order to become a travel nurse, you must first be a licensed registered nurse (RN). You can obtain your RN license by taking the NCLEX-RN exam. Once you have your RN license, you will need to work a minimum of one to two years and be completely independent in practice.

Many states are now participating in the Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC). This means that you may hold a license in Florida but can work without receiving a separate license in other states as long as you hold a Multi-State License.

States that are currently part of the Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC) include:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Lousiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio (Implementation on 1/1/2023)
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virgina
  • West Virigina
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

For the most up to date information: https://www.ncsbn.org/nurse-licensure-compact.htm

Determine Why you want to Become a Travel Nurse?

Before you decide to become a travel nurse, it is important to determine why you want to do this.

Are you looking for an adventure? Do you want to see different parts of the country? Do you want to make good money?

Once you have determined why you want to become a travel nurse, you can start looking into the process of becoming one.

In researching your why, it is also important to understand the disadvantages of travel nursing too. These can include:

  • The inability to form long-term relationships with patients, co-workers, and dating
  • The need to be away from family and friends for long periods of time
  • The possibility of working in a less than ideal facility
  • The need to be flexible with your schedule

If you are still interested in becoming a travel nurse after taking all of this into consideration, then the next step is to find an assignment with a travel nurse agency.

Researching Travel Nurse Agencies?

When looking for a travel nurse agency, it is important to do your research. Not all travel nurse companies are built the same. You want to make sure that the agency you choose is reputable and has a good relationship with the hospitals they work with.

It is also important to find an agency that has a good benefits package. This can include things like health insurance, housing stipends, and travel reimbursement.

Communicating with Multiple Travel Nursing Agencies and Finding an Assignment?

Once you have determined why you want to become a travel nurse and researched different agencies, the next step is to start communicating with them.

Many nurses choose to work with multiple travel nursing agencies to get the best rates and benefits.

When you are talking to agencies, it is important to be upfront about your expectations and what you are looking for in an assignment with all companies. It is also important to communicate that you are working with multiple companies. If a recruiter gives you a hard time working with multiple companies, this is a red flag! You can either ask for another recruiter or work with a different company.

Some agencies will try to put you in an assignment that is not a good fit for you, so it is important to be clear about what you are looking for in an assignment.

What are Travel Nurse Contracts?

Once you have found an agency and an assignment that you are happy with, the next step is to sign a contract.

The contract will outline the details of your assignment, pay rate, and benefits.

It is important to read the contract carefully and make sure you understand everything before you sign it.

If you have any questions, make sure to ask your recruiter or the agency before you sign. We will be diving deeper into contracts in this guide.

Conclusion

Now that you have an introduction to travel nursing, your next step is to start the process of becoming a travel nurse! This guide has given you an overview of what is travel nursing, the benefits, how to become a travel nurse, and what to expect.

If you are interested in becoming a travel nurse, the best thing to do is start reaching out to different agencies and getting a feel for what they have to offer.

Don’t forget to do your research on each agency and make sure you are getting the best pay and benefits for your assignments!

If you have any questions about travel nursing, feel free to reach out to us and we would be happy to help!