If you’ve been working as a nurse for any period of time, you’re likely aware of the current nursing shortage in the United States.
When hospitals and health care organizations have temporary openings -- from maternity leave, for example -- they are looking to fill that void. That’s where you come in.
US-based travel nurses take assignments that usually last anywhere from 4-26 weeks, with the majority being 13 weeks long. Many times, when an assignment is completed, you can extend it. This is perfect if you want just a little more time in your exciting location.
Although most travel nurses are RNs, there are jobs available for LPNs and NPs as well.
But remember: because there’s a general nursing shortage, don’t be afraid to apply if you don’t have one of those specialities.
One of the biggest reasons to become a travel nurse is right in the name -- travel. If you feel stuck in your current position and would like to get out and see the country (or the world!), travel nursing can provide you with a steady paycheck and great benefits while you spend your free time meeting new people and exploring new places.
You might even find a “new home” after your assignment in a different state. Maybe you thought you’d never like the California sun, only to discover you love living walking distance from the beach.
Professionally, travel nursing provides you will great experience for your resume and contacts at hospitals all over the country. If you decide to settle down somewhere, you’ll have the experience, new skills, and connections you need to find a long-term position.
SALARY AND BENEFITS
And financially, travel nursing can pad your bank account. Because you are taking the leap and moving, some agencies offer rental cars, free housing, and reimbursement for travel costs. Check with agencies to find out if you’ll get 401K benefits, and even free health insurance. Many agencies provide free CEUs, too, which means you can keep learning at no cost to yourself. As far as hourly pay, you can expect somewhere around $30 to $50/hour, depending on your location and experience.
Don’t get too bogged down by hourly rates however. Be sure ask for specifics about your benefits, and calculate what those are worth in dollars. A $30/hour position with free housing, travel reimbursement, free health insurance, etc. can be far better than a $50/hour position with fewer or no benefits.
Also, ask to have guaranteed hours specified in your contract, that way you can budget and make an informed decision.
Convinced that you want to be a travel nurse? Still want to know more? Here’s the step by step process of how to go from curious to employed.