There are so many reasons to get into Travel Nursing. It’s an amazing opportunity for hard-working nurses to enjoy the many adventures and perks that come along with a career in this very exciting and in-dem and industry — for example, traveling to wonderful new places (or returning to long-cherished ones!), avoiding hospital politics, building skills and enhancing your resume, getting great benefits and pay, and more!
But, say you’re a student or otherwise starting from square one, how can you get in on the goodness that Travel Nursing has to offer? We have you covered.
Here are some helpful tips for how to become a Travel Nurse:
The very first steps on the awesome road of Travel Nursing are to attend nursing school, earn your RN, and pass the NCLEX. Beyond that it’s a good idea to get certified in your specialty and you should also acquire 1-2 years in-hospital experience. Because Travel Nurses are expected to hit the ground running with only a very slight orientation period, agencies and hospitals will require at least 1-2 years of experience. While you may be anxious to get going as a Traveler, it’s very important to obtain the proper experience first in order to protect your patients and your license. You should be wary of any agency or hospital that says they can get you an assignment before you get the proper 1-2 years hospital experience.
Once you’re fully qualified you should focus on finding a Travel Nurse staffing company that’s a good fit for you and a recruiter you like, respect, and trust. The amount of companies out there can be overwhelming, but just do your research and trust your gut! Many Travelers will be on file with a h and ful of agencies — just make sure that you’re upfront with your recruiters at each agency when interviewing and accepting jobs.
Travel Nursing Central does annual agency rankings that are based on Traveler feedback and are an excellent jumping off point for which agencies routinely get good feedback. You can also find Travel Nurse company ratings and reviews here on TNB. You will find good and bad things about every company out there, so take reviews with a grain of salt, consider the date posted, and looks for patterns in each company’s reviews. At the end of the day, you should work with a company that offers all of the benefits you need, but it’s really your relationship with your recruiter that will make or break your success. Make sure you’re working with someone you can trust and who will go to bat for you. At this stage, once you are working with a recruiter, he or she will be able to help you prepare your resume, references, and skills checklists that will eventually help you get a job.
Get Out the Map
Like most things in life, knowing what you want is instrumental in getting it. What city do you want to live and work in for 13 weeks? Do you prefer big city livin’ or the small town life? Do you love snow or wish to avoid it entirely? Dig deep and ask yourself what you want out of a location. Having a clear idea of where you want to go will help your recruiter better assist you in reaching your goals. That said, you may find that you end up taking assignments in surprise places you would never have imagined. Many Travel Nurses report that these kinds of “hidden gem” assignments ended up being among their favorites. So, have an idea of what you want, but do keep an open mind!
At this stage you and your recruiter have found an assignment that meets all your criteria. Now you’ll interview over the phone with a nurse manager or other representative from the hospital. Again at this stage, your recruiter is instrumental to your success and should help prep you for the interview in order to help you be successful.
You did it — you l and ed your first Travel Nursing job! Congrats and buckle up for an awesome experience. Your recruiter and travel company will help with all the details — housing, any additional credentials or licensing you need, and anything else you might need to get to your assignment and get your new career started. You should expect to hear from your recruiter the first week of and throughout your assignment. The best recruiters will reach out regularly to make sure your experience is going well, help you troubleshoot any problems, and provide support whenever you need it.
I hope this post helps some newbies learn how to become a Travel Nurse! Seasoned Travelers, feel free to share any tips you might have for them in the comments. Happy Travel Nursing everyone!