A registered nurse that moves between homes, to clinics, hospitals, and other medical facilities, that is a travel nurse. They are highly experienced and have various clinical backgrounds that can take charge of different care areas efficiently. They perform the duties of a nurse in different places to fill in for other nurses or they are called in whenever there is a large emergency. The job is a great way to earn experience in different working environments and meet new people.
Travel nursing began when the healthcare workforce experienced a nationwide shortage of nursing personnel. It was a solution proposed in the 1980s when nurses were brought into the city of New Orleans because of a massive influx of patients during the Mardi Gras or the ‘Fat Tuesday’. This ingenious idea took off quite well as it helped a lot of healthcare facilities to meet their seasonal demands. Because of this cost-effective method, travel nursing has been widely acknowledged and continued up until today.
Travel nurses don’t have a permanent assignment and they work on short-term contracts that usually last 4-13 weeks or even longer if they accept a full-time position. The job of a travel nurse sounds appealing because of its multiple benefits.
To become a travel nurse you must first be a registered nurse equipped with the skills needed to survive as a travel nurse. Most agencies require a minimum of two years of experience before applying to be a travel nurse. A strong clinical background will surely give you a secure standing as a travel nurse. Having new personnel as a backup can get tricky especially if you work in an environment that deals with a person’s health. Mistakes are unwanted since a nurse’s duty is to care for patients directly. Being a reliable support staff will aid you in developing your career as a travel nurse. Unlike a regular staff nurse, a travel nurse has no time to adapt slowly to every new work environment. A travel nurse should be well versed in using a new charting system. They should be quick in familiarizing themselves around the medical facility especially the storage unit of the medical supplies and equipment. They don’t get to have a steady transition since they are only there whenever they are needed.
A travel nurse is someone with great flexibility and adaptability since their job has no permanent working environment. Traveling from one place to another, one of a travel nurse’s prerequisite is exquisite communication skills. Meeting new colleagues and new patients in every job is common to them. This is why they should have a keen eye for every detail be it the medical or social needs. A travel nurse doesn’t have enough time to build a strong bond with your team nor build seniority in the workplace. A travel nurse is always on the constant cycle of introducing yourself and getting to know your new colleagues. Although the time spent may not be enough to establish a solid relationship, you can still build your connection with the people that you encountered along the way.
The salary of a travel nurse is generally higher than that of a registered nurse but this shows that their skills are a cut above. The pay of a travel nurse actually varies based on the travel staffing agency, the work or department the nurse works in, and the state or place of the facility. On average, a travel nurse earns about $1300 – $2700 per week and can increase up to $3000. Other than that, travel nurses can also receive a non-taxed stipend that will help in paying for accommodation, meals, and other living expenses.
There are a lot of opportunities to travel nurses especially now that health care facilities are facing nursing personnel shortages. Being a travel nurse sounds complicated and taxing with all the hustle and bustle. But for the most part, the job comes with great benefits that will surely boost your career. You can travel to different places, expand your health care expertise, widen your connection, and get paid handsomely. All of this will be acquired by being a travel nurse.