To begin with, a travel nurse is a registered nurse with a minimum of two years of nursing experience. Their work revolves around filling gaps caused by nursing shortages. Nursing shortages are a frequent occurrence that became very evident during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic when demand for travel nurses caused the job’s wages to rise by 25%.
As such, one of the attractive attributes of travel nursing is the potential to increase your salary drastically. According to LinkedIn analysts, up to 34% more people are being hired to fill healthcare jobs. Registered nurses form the bulk of health care professionals, a field that the Bureau of Labor Statistics says will be one of the fastest-growing fields until 2029.
Apart from the money, travel nurses get to broaden their skill set, travel to new places, enjoy flexible scheduling, and have job security.
This bodes well for those seeking travel nurse jobs, but how do you get started?
1. Education and Experience
At a minimum, you need an associate degree in nursing (AND), which will allow you to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam. Upon passing, you need a state license to become a licensed RN.
Many hospitals need travel nurses to have two years of working experience. Another consideration is that increasingly more hospitals need you to have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to work as a travel nurse.
2. Get a Compact License
Your agency will likely foot the licensure cost for every state you practice in, but a compact license is a multistate license that is highly practical for travel nurse jobs. Currently, 39 states recognize the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC).
3. Get a Recruiter You Can Trust
Research and compare different recruiters. Ask for referrals, check their ratings online, ensure they are registered by the Joint Commission, and carefully consider their pay packages. Whichever recruiter you choose, build a strong relationship with them, and clarify what you want. That way, you can get offers that suit you best.
When the opportunity comes, carefully read and sign the contract, then pack up and prepare all your paperwork! If you need help with this process, feel free to contact qualified recruiters who can help you on your journey.