You’ve done the research, read some blog posts (maybe on this very site), and you think you are ready to start your career in travel nursing. What should your first step be – and, for that matter, your second and third step? Here are some things you should know as you set out on this rewarding career path.
Travel Nursing 101
In case you aren’t completely clear on what travel nursing jobs contain, here are some basics. A travel nursing assignment can be anywhere from 8 to 26 weeks long, with the average job lasting around 13 weeks. Anyone with a nursing license and at least one year of specialized experience can be a travel nurse. Being experienced and knowledgeable in a specialized field is helpful not only in becoming a travel nurse but also in your nursing career. Having higher education or high-level skills can make you more appealing for a position.
Find a Travel Nursing Agency
One of the very first things people should do when they decide they want travel nursing jobs is looking for an agency. There are a lot of logistics involved in this type of work – where positions are opening, what type of specialists they need, how long the assignment is, and more. Navigating all of this on your own would be incredibly difficult. In fact, most travel nursing jobs can only be obtained through agencies. These companies work with you to find the perfect assignments to meet your skills.
Not all travel nursing agencies are created equal, so make sure to take some time and research which one will be best for you. As this could potentially be a long-term partnership, you want to be with an agency you trust and admire. Consider the agency’s background, qualifications, reviews, locations, and specializations when deciding if they will work well with you.
Get More Nursing Licenses
At this point in your nursing career, you most likely have at least one RN license. However, if you are planning to become a travel nurse, you will need to get licensed in every state that you work in. While the average time to get a license is between two and four weeks, in some states such as California and Ohio it can take up to six months to get one. Stay ahead of the game by applying for licenses now.
There are a few different strategies for obtaining RN licenses for travel nursing jobs. You could get licensed in all the states you want to work in. This doesn’t guarantee those states will have open positions, however. You could apply for licenses in the most popular states for travel nursing – California, Texas, Arizona, and Florida. Alternatively (or additionally), you can apply for the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC). This allows nurses to practice in any eNLC state.
Use Your Resources
If you become a travel nurse, you will be moving around a lot. It can be hard to make friends and feel a sense of community when you change jobs every few months. When everything is changing over and over, it can be helpful to research things beforehand. Use online resources to learn about the place you will be living and your assignment so you know what to expect when you arrive.
Ready to apply?
Are you ready to start a rewarding nursing career where you not only get to help a variety of patients but also get to travel the country? New Directions Staffing can find your perfect first assignment. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you succeed in travel nursing.