The Perfect Travel Nurse Jobs

The shortage of staff means the perfect travel nurse jobs are out there - you just have to find them. 

But first, there are a number of questions you need to ask yourself.

1. Are you qualified?

Not everyone can just jump into travel nursing. If you’re reading this, you have likely finished high school and obtained a nursing degree, or are in the process of doing so.

Once you’ve finished two to four years at an accredited university, you need to pass your NCLEX exam. You cannot become a licensed registered nurse or licensed practical nurse in the United States without passing The National Council Licensure Examination, and you must be a nurse in order to become a travel nurse.

2. Do you have experience?

The absolutely minimum is at least 1 year of clinical experience, but 2-3 years of experience will make you more attractive to potential employers. If you’ve been in the nursing field for longer than that, you’ll make an even better catch!

Now that you’re qualified with the basics, keep in mind that you’ll need to be licensed in the state you plan to travel to. We recommend considering getting your license from a Compact State, one of 25 states that agrees to recognize licensure from any of the other 25 states.

This means you can move around freely within almost half of the country, without any more qualification. If you are keen to go to a non-Compact State, however, check the state boards and find out what you’ll need to be licensed in that state. 

3. What do you want to do?

If you’re just eager for a change, you might think you really don’t care what you do -- just as long as it’s different!

Still, take some time to consider if you’d like to do any specialty nursing, work in a hospital or a different medical care facility, what kind of hours you are hoping for, and of course, what states you’d like to live in. These are all things you recruiter will ask you, and you should have a general idea of what you’d prefer.

That being said, the more flexible you are, the easier it’ll be to find a job.

4. What compensation or benefits do you need?

Ah money, the great kill-joy of adventure!

It is important to take a good hard look at your finances and consider what you will need in order to make travel nursing worth it for you.

Perhaps a loaner car, health insurance and free housing make up for a lower take-home paycheck in your mind. Or maybe you have someone to live with, so you would rather have more money than benefits. Take a look at the list of common benefits provided by agencies and think about which ones are the most attractive to you before getting in touch with a recruiter.

You will need to know what are non-negotiables and what you can budge on -- especially when you get to the negotiating a contract part of this process.

5. Create a resume

Just like with any job, you will need a killer resume to get the best positions. If you aren’t confident about yours, read this quick guide to preparing your travel nursing resume.

6. Apply with us to have resume sent to affiliates

You can fill out our much simpler application on our applications page, which is what we’ll send to agencies. Keep that beautiful resume handy though -- your recruiter will need it!

7. Gather paperwork

This is where working with an agency becomes a huge time-saver. Your recruiter should let you know what documentation you will need, but as a general rule, it should include the following:

  • Your resume
  • A skills checklist
  • Clinical references
  • Photocopies of your licenses and certifications
  • Lab results for Rubeola, Rubella, Varicella, Hep C, Hep B and Mumps
  • Documentation of an up-to-date flu vaccination
  • A BCLS card issued by the American Heart Association
  • A physician’s statement
  • Copy of your driver’s license
  • Proof that you don’t have a criminal background

8. Get ready - and take - the interview

It may have taken a long time to get here, but you knew this was coming. The nursing job interview is the scariest part of all job-searches, but with the proper preparation you have nothing to fear.

9. Negotiate and sign a contract

Once you’ve found your dream position, it is time to negotiate and sign a contract. This is very exciting!

Remember that list of benefits and salary compensation you were hoping for? Now is the time to really go to bat for yourself. You might be a great salesperson, but if the thought of negotiations terrifies you, here are some great tips on how to get the most out of your contract, and what to make sure is outlined within it.

Where would you like your travel nursing career to take you?

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