Traveling nurses work temporary jobs in various locations across their state or country. Most assignments are in duration for 13 weeks but may vary. Travel nursing is an excellent way to travel the nation while gaining important job experience. But, knowing the benefits, disadvantages, and everything it takes to do travel nursing is an important first step.
Anyone with a nursing license and at least one year of specialized nursing experience can be a travel nurse. Travel nurses can choose short-term assignments across the U.S. or even abroad!
What is Travel Nursing?
Travel nursing is an important sector of the nursing industry as a whole. Traveling nurses provide temporary medical help on short-term appointments. Assignments last from 8 to 26 weeks, with most positions averaging around 13 weeks. Nurses have the opportunity to choose where and what specialty they want to work in.
All travel nurses have licenses, but different clinical backgrounds. They fill short-term job gaps in various sectors of the nursing field. This specialty profession took root after years of a nationwide nurse shortage. Unfulfilled positions were vast in hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation and other areas of care. Patients needed care and they needed it fast! In an attempt to attract nurses to open positions, employers provided greater salaries, housing, and covered relocation costs to fill temporary positions with qualified nurses.
The Duties of a Traveling Nurse
As a traveling nurse, the type of assignment will vary based upon your specialty. The facility and daily tasks will all depend on the background of the travel nurse. Although temporary, travel nurses always contribute to the mission of the entire medical team. Whether assisting physicians during exams and surgeries or doing laboratory work and urgent first aid care, travel nursing jobs are rewarding. Regardless of the task, critical thinking and fast action are essential to any travel nursing job.
Per Diem vs. Travel Nursing
Per diem nurses and travel nurses are not the same. Per diem nurses have no set schedules and are not required to work a minimum amount of hours each pay period. As their name suggests – they work per day, only assigned work on an as-needed daily basis. A per diem arrangement can offer a lot of flexibility. But, the hours can be inconsistent and unpredictable. Additionally, per diem nurses must adapt to various policies and processes of different installations. Also, while offered high hourly rates, per diem nurses usually aren’t eligible for incentives.
The Importance of Travel Nurses
Travel nurses are a significant component of the medical care team. They bridge the gap between the nursing supply and demand. Compulsory nursing-patient ratios have resulted in enhanced patient safety and reduced patient mortality. So, travel nurses help improve patient safety and patient outcomes.
Travel nurses also bring something special to the table. Nurses from distinct backgrounds of education and care regions bring a lot to the nursing industry. Exchanging thoughts and procedures from various backgrounds and educations benefit the patients and other nurses.
Multi-State Nursing Licensure
In the United States, travel nurses need an RN license covering every state they will be working in. The period for securing a license varies from one state to another. Many estimates range from 2 to 4 weeks, while states such as California and Ohio may take up to six months.
Having a work location in mind can help speed up the permit process. Most travel nurses receive assignments with only a few weeks of notice. Thus, already holding the required permit for a state can be crucial to getting quality assignments. The busiest states for travel nursing are California, Texas, Arizona, and Florida. Holding a license for travel nursing in one or all these states is very valuable.
A few states across the United States refer to themselves as “walk-through” states. These states issue a temporary nursing license within a few days while waiting for travel nurses to get their official license. This allows travel nurses to start their assignments without delay. These temporary licenses are valid from 1 to 6 months, depending on the state.
To help others with their medical needs while also traveling the country or world, apply now to become a travel nurse. New Directions Staffing has a lot of opportunities for aspirants like you!