Nurses have gotten a lot of highly deserved praise since the coronavirus made their lives more stressful and more dangerous overnight.
As the light at the end of the COVID tunnel is starting to come into view, nurses are, no doubt, thinking about what the next chapter of their lives will be.
And, after being stuck in the same hospital with extra hours and extra tension, a change of venue, at least temporarily, will certainly be enticing to many.
For those younger individuals who were inspired by the heroic nature of hospital staff during the pandemic, and want to pursue a career in health, one in travel nursing may be a great option.
It lets nurses see the world and not be locked into one area for too long.
Here is a closer look at a career in travel nursing:
What is Travel Nursing?
Not to be confused with medical mission trip nurses, who generally volunteer to go abroad (often to remote areas) on a one-time journey, travel nurses are key players in the domestic healthcare realm, as they are sent here and there, all across the country, to fill in gaps in staffing.
Sometimes these gaps are caused by temporary things like maternity or paternity leave, but other times hospitals are just expanding and need more help during transitional periods.
In some areas, seasons tend to dictate increases in hospital submissions as well, thus, some travel nurses work on seasonal schedules.
Travel nurses work for agencies, not all that different from corporate temp agencies, just with a much more narrow scope of their talent pool (i.e. nurses, nurses, and nurses).
There are 340 such agencies in the U.S., and with that, jobs in the field of travel nursing are often pretty easy to come by.
About one-third of these agencies carry a Joint Commission certification, and some hospitals will only use travel nurses from these agencies, so it’s definitely a good idea to start your travel nursing career search there!
How do I Become a Travel Nurse?
The first step is to become a registered nurse. This generally means four-to-five years of schooling, and always means passing a certification exam called the NCLEX-RN.
For those already in the nursing field who have their RN, applying for a gig with a travel nursing agency isn’t much different than applying for the job you currently have.
Knowing someone with an “in” never hurts, and the odds are that someone in your work circle is, or was a travel nurse and can help you out.
For aspiring nurses who want to dip their toes into travel nursing, the path is much like other jobs.
Go to college, study hard for your exam, and apply to as many of the aforementioned agencies as you possibly can!
Getting a foot in the door can be a bit of a challenge, but nurses are in extremely high demand (not just because of COVID), and a good resume and a good interview will set you up quite well to pursue a career in travel nursing.
Well, for most travel nurses, the why is in the title: Travel!
Typical contracts for travel nurses are in the 6-12 month range, but most will tell you that “re-ing up” is normally pretty easy if you end up falling in love with a given area.
Another reason that most members of society hope their nurses got into the game for is the fact that you help people every day!
Pay is also very good, and generally travel nurses make about $10,000 more, per year, than their stationary counterparts.
Travel nursing is particularly appealing to younger students trying to avoid traditional night shift nursing or bedside nursing.
There are plenty of great reasons to be a travel nurse, and the world awaits!