There is a high demand for registered nurses (RNs) all around the world. This means that registered nurses have the opportunity to travel and work in a location of their choice. Travel nurses play an essential role in the healthcare system because they fill staff shortages in the nursing sector. This helps to ensure that patients have access to high-quality healthcare.
Travel nurses have the opportunity to explore new environments and enjoy professional flexibility. They can also receive above-average salaries and tend to report high levels of job satisfaction. If you’re interested in becoming a travel nurse, then these are the steps you will need to follow:
Learn about the role
If you want to become a travel nurse, then you must start by learning about the role and responsibilities. Working as a travel nurse can be extremely rewarding and fulfilling, but the role will not suit everyone. Keep in mind that travel nurses are hired to fill nursing positions at different locations around the United States or in countries abroad. Many placements are on a short-term basis, and you may be required to move regularly. This can be exciting if you want to explore new places and meet new people. However, the lifestyle of a travel nurse may not be suitable if you have commitments in your current location, like a long-term relationship or children. Travel nurses may also not receive the same benefits as nurses in full-time employment, e.g., paid vacation or sick days.
That said, there are lots of advantages of working as a travel nurse, including higher earning potential and the opportunity to expand your nursing experience and improve your resume. Take the time to research the role of a travel nurse to help you decide whether you would enjoy the lifestyle. Read this guide by NurseJournal for information on the role of a travel nurse.
Complete a nursing degree
Aspiring nurses must complete a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) before they can apply for a license to practice. Most nursing degrees are four-year programs and require full-time study. If you already have an associate degree in nursing (ADN), then you may be able to complete a fast-track RN-BSN program. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree in another relevant field can also complete accelerated bsn online programs. These courses allow graduates to build on their existing education and experience and qualify in as little as 16 months.
A nursing degree is designed to teach students the skills and knowledge needed to work as a nurse in a clinical setting. Nursing programs cover core topics such as patient care, physiology, clinical theory, and mental health. Nursing students also have the opportunity to choose a nursing specialty such as pediatrics or geriatrics.
Build hands-on nursing experience
Building hands-on experience is the best way to learn about the nursing industry and the role of a registered nurse. You should start gaining relevant work experience as early as possible, ideally while you are still in high school. You can get pre-nursing experience by volunteering in a healthcare setting or shadowing a registered nurse. According to globalpremeds.com, “working in the healthcare field can be a great way to gain pre-nursing experience and also earn some money while you study.” Several healthcare roles require minimal experience and training. For instance, you could train to become a nursing assistant in just 15 weeks. Working as a nursing assistant will enhance your resume give you valuable patient care experience.
You should also look for a nursing program that offers clinical placements and entry-level job placement. Be proactive when it comes to internships and avoid being too picky when it comes to placements and work experience.
Check the licensure requirements
Once you have completed your nursing degree, you will need to check what the nursing licensure requirements are in your state. All registered nurses must complete the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX) before they can apply for a license. This is a computer adaptive test that takes up to six hours to complete. It is designed to check that graduate nurses have the skills and competency to practice as entry-level nurses in a clinical setting. It is a good idea to complete NCLEX test papers to help you prepare for the exam.
You must also check what licenses you will need to work as a travel nurse. Some states are part of the Nurse Licensure Compact. This means that your nursing license will be valid in different states. However, other states set their own licensure requirements, which means you will need to apply for multiple nursing licenses. A travel nursing agency can guide you through the process and advise you on what is required.
Find a travel nurse staffing agency
Most travel nurses find placements through a travel nurse staffing agency. A travel nurse staffing agency will help you find temporary nursing positions that are right for you. They fill short-term nursing positions in a wide range of settings, including hospitals, private clinics, and residential care settings.
Your nursing school should be able to help you connect with a travel nursing agency, or you can find local agencies that are recruiting online. Keep in mind that most travel nurse staffing agencies will expect you to have a minimum of one year of experience working as a registered nurse. Take a look at this article by travelnursing.org for some of the best travel nurse agencies of 2021. Take the time to find the best company that will guide you through the process and help you find the right travel nursing placements for you.
Working as a travel nurse can be extremely exciting and fulfilling. You will have the opportunity to travel to new places, enjoy greater flexibility, and help patients all around the world. That said, travel nursing would not suit everyone, especially people with families or other commitments.
Do your research and decide whether the lifestyle of a traveling nurse is right for you. If you decide that you want to pursue a career as a travel nurse, then follow the steps above to start your rewarding career.