What Is a Travel Nurse?
A travel nurse is a skilled and qualified healthcare professional who accepts a temporary assignment at a hospital in a different geographical location than where they live. This concept was developed as a response to the nursing shortage seen globally. A nursing shortage happens in hospitals when the nurse to patient ratio becomes unsafe, meaning there are too many patients assigned to one nurse. While travel nursing commonly refers to registered nurses (RNs) it is a broad term that can be used interchangeably for many healthcare professions — physicians, advanced practice nurses, physician assistants, dentists, and certified nursing assistants often also have the opportunity to travel. Travel nurse agencies are available to help assign the healthcare professional to their desired hospital and assignment.
What Are the Benefits of Travel Nursing?
Travel nurses are well compensated because they are filling an understaffed, needed assignment. In addition, travel nurses also receive benefits such as health care and their 401ks are still added to while they are on their assignment. More popular locations such as vacation destinations may pay lower because it is competitive and many nurses apply for those openings. In addition to competitive pay, many agencies also include reimbursement packages. This could include addition vacation, sick time, loyalty reward programs, etc. as incentive for taking the position.
Because travel nurses relocate to a new location for a year or less, their housing is typically paid for through the staffing agency. If the agency provides the housing, it is often a one bedroom, furnished apartment with amenities and utilities included.
How Do You Become a Travel Nurse?
To be considered for travel nursing, applicants must have completed at least an associate or bachelor’s degree, typically a BSN. They also must have passed all necessary exams, such as the NCLEX to become an RN, and have obtained all necessary certifications. Additionally, most agencies require a year to two years of bedside care or experience in the specialized field.
If you are interested in having a career that could lead you to travel nursing, learn more about the nursing programs offered at Goodwin University.
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