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Travel Registered Nurse: An Ideal Nursing Career Choice

Updated on November 19, 2014

Travel Nurse Overview

Travel Registered Nurses are hired on a temporary basis and send to new destinations for performing nursing services and meeting the short-term staffing needs of the health care facilities. They are offered few weeks or month’s assignments, and on completion of their terms, they are again employed for other new assignments. Travel nurses receive higher wages and benefits than other nursing professionals. This form of nursing is ideal for nurses who desire job flexibility in their work and willing to travel to new destinations.

How did Travel Nursing Begin

During early 1980s, there was acute nursing shortage in the country. The shortage had also significantly affected nursing care services in many facilities and patients were also deprived of necessary cares. Therefore, to alleviate patient’s suffering and nursing problems, nurses were offered higher salaries and incentives and send on temporary assignments to locations that were hard hit by nursing shortages. Such system turned out to be highly successful in easing nursing shortages temporarily, and facilities were also able to cope with their short-term staffing needs through traveling nurses. Nurses were also happy with the arrangements because they were receiving higher wages and opportunity to move to a new destination. The advantages of such set up were also the primary factor for the origin of traveling nurses.

However, people also connect the origin with Florence Nightingale and her travel to Crimea war for nursing injured soldiers. There is also another opinion that travel nursing concept originated in New Orleans when nurses were hired and send for nursing services during Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Despite different opinions about the beginning of travel nursing, there is no denying that this form of nursing was found to be an ideal solution for solving the temporary staffing needs of the facilities.

Requirements to Become a Travel Nurse

In order to qualify as a travel nurse, nurses must hold an RN licensure and possess 1-1.5 years clinical work experience. There are multiple streams that lead to an RN licensure including two-year Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), three- year Diploma Program, and four- year Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN). All these programs are offered in nursing schools, colleges, and universities. The program curriculum includes classroom instructions, lab training, and clinical hands-on experience. The course curriculum comprises of general and nursing courses. The students must complete any of these programs for eligibility to sit in the NCLEX-RN exam. The licensing exam assesses the competencies of nursing students for offering safe and competent nursing care. The successful candidates are awarded an RN license, and they are permitted to work as a registered nurse or travel registered nurse.

Travel Nurse
Travel Nurse

How to search Travel Nurse Jobs

Registered Nurses can apply to hiring agencies for travel nursing jobs. They must submit job resumes and complete the job applications. Once nurses complete the hiring process, they are selected for the job and offered a temporary nursing assignment in a new place. However, travel registered nurses must be careful in accepting these positions blindly because certain issues may create disputes in the future. The points that may create problems later include wages, mode of payments, duty hours, job descriptions, work duration, traveling allowances, housing and other benefits. In order to be on the safe side, nurses must ask for a written agreement that include these issues in detail and fully explained.

What are Ideal Qualities of a Travel Nurse

The educational qualification and skills and willingness to travel are not enough for working as a travel registered nurse because to be a successful and competent travel registered nurse, they must possess few unique qualities. Capability is their first quality because health care facilities prefer these nurses who are highly skilled in their profession and hold few years work experience. They must also be flexible and adjustable because their jobs require them to perform in an entirely new and different surrounding and environment. Their duties may also vary depending upon the requirements of the health care units and hospitals. These conditions require them to be flexible, and able to adjust to a new environment fast. They must also maintain a positive attitude because new work environment may be contrary to what they have expected for their working. Compassionate nature is another virtue a travel nurse must possess because in the course of their duties they will come across all types of patients, families, and staffs. They must be compassion, humble, and cordial with everyone because these qualities will help them in maintaining a healthy relationship around the facility and performing quality patient care. Reliability is another quality they must possess because the facility owner had faith in them when they were hired, and patients also completely rely on them for their mental, emotional, and nursing care.

What are the Advantages of Travel Nursing

Travel nursing career is widely popular among the nursing communities because these short assignments provide them an opportunity to travel to new destinations of their choice. The work also offers them job flexibility because nurses are free to accept or reject a job, and also decide the time and place to work. They are also paid higher compensations than their counterparts who have fixed work schedules in one location. Along with higher salaries, they also receive handsome benefits including Medical, dental and life insurance, traveling and housing allowances, retirement and other benefits. In addition, travel nurses also earn wider nursing knowledge and clinical skills because their assignments take them to a variety of facilities for performing different types of nursing services. In the same facility also, they may have to work as floating nurses and perform a wide variety of nursing duties. These responsibilities can expand their competencies and make them more skilful in their profession.

What is the Job Outlook for a Travel Nurse

The demand for travel nursing jobs will experience impressive growth in the future. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for RNs will grow 19 percent from 2012 to 2022, and additional 526,800 nurses will be required to meet the nursing demand. The primary reasons for the rise in nursing demand include retirement of nurses, shortages of permanent nurses, low turnout of graduates from schools and colleges, increased ageing population and baby-boomers age. The recent Healthcare reform law will also add millions of Americans to healthcare system and economy recovery in the country will further boost the demands for travel registered nurses.

Take the "Travel Nurse" Poll

1. What attracts you most in travel nursing jobs?

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2. What can make you a better Travel Nurse?

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3. If you are given a choice, what will you want to be?

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4. Can Travel Nursing solve the nursing shortage?

See results

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