Why I Want To Be A Nurse . org


Get Your Degree!

Find schools and get information on the program that’s right for you.

Powered by Campus Explorer


What is a Travel Nurse

Travel nursing can be an exciting career opportunity! Travel nurses are usually Registered Nurses (RNs), but may also be Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) or even Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). Travel nurses have great job flexibility, with the option to choose what state or country they work in, the length of their assignment and the field in which they work. Assignments can be in a neighboring city or as far away as another country. Travel RNs are often hired to work in places where there is a nursing shortage, so they may work in units that are short-staffed and very busy.

Travel Nurse Job Description

Travel nurse duties are much the same as RNs employed locally. They are responsible for many aspects of patient care including taking vital signs, administering medications and educating patients. They perform procedures such as dressing changes, establishing intravenous lines and urinary catheterizations. RNs are responsible for delegating tasks to LPNs and CNAs. In addition to the tasks performed by other RNs, travel RNs must be quick to learn, be flexible and able to function independently. Because travel RNs often fill a temporary assignment, there is not much time to orient the new nurse to the unit or to do remedial teaching. Travel RNs are expected to be competent, highly-skilled and fast working. Travel nursing assignments may range from six weeks to up to one year or longer. Financial bonuses may be offered to nurses who choose to go to an area with a severe nursing shortage or for agreeing to stay for another contact term.

Travel Nurse Training

Travel RNs are highly skilled, experienced nurses. They have a RN license with several years of work experience. To begin a career as a RN, an associate's degree or bachelor's degree must first be obtained. An associate's degree requires two years of post-high school study while a bachelor's degree requires four years of post-high school study. Degree programs can be found in local community colleges or universities. Many programs now offer degrees that can be earned online. While the classroom component of nursing education can be taught online, the hands-on clinical portion must be done in person. Clinical experiences can be arranged at a local hospital for convenience. The number of clinical hours required varies by state, but generally, 8 to 16 hours is required per week school is in session. Upon successful completion of a degree program students are eligible to sit for the National Council of State Boards of Nursing NCLEX-RN exam. Students who pass the NCLEX-RN exam are eligible to apply for licensure in their particular state.

Travel nurses must obtain a nursing license is each state in which they plan to practice. Twenty-four states participate in a multi-state agreement which allows a RN to practice not only in his or her home state, but also other states in the party. These states are considered compact states. RNs who are not licensed in a compact state will have to apply for licensure by endorsement in the new state they are looking to work. There are no specific training programs to become a travel nurse. Rather, nurses choose to gain work experience in the field of their choosing. After several years of experience, nurses are often ready for the challenging job of travel nursing.

Travel Nurse Salary

Travel RNs are often well paid. According to Payscale.com, a typical RN's salary in 2012 ranged from $41,027 to $79,438, with a median salary of $55,074. Travel RNs commonly make more than regular RNs due to higher pay from the travel nursing agency and sign-on bonuses. In addition, travel RNs typically have benefits regular RNs do not such as a housing allowance, travel expense reimbursement and license renewal reimbursement.

Opportunities For Nursing Career Advancement

Travel RNs can choose to earn a graduate degree in nursing. Earning a master's or doctorate degree in nursing can prepare the nurse to become an advanced practice nurse, or nurse practitioner. Nurse practitioner programs are available across the country, many with classes that are available online. While some classes may be available online, clinical rotations must be completed in person, although they can often be arranged close to home for convenience. Graduates of a master's or doctorate degree program can apply for licensure as an advanced practice nurse in their respective state. Nurse practitioners enjoy greater responsibility and autonomy which is reflected in their pay. According to Payscale.com, in 2012 the salary for nurse practitioners ranged from $64,454 to $108,692 with a median salary of $84,365. Unlike RN licenses, there is no compact state agreement that applies to advanced practice nurses. They must apply individually to each state they in which they want to practice. Travel opportunities are available to nurse practitioners, but on a more limited basis.

Travel nursing can be an exciting and rewarding career. It can also be challenging and stressful, as the areas nurses are needed to work in are often understaffed and the nurses are away from family and friends. Travel nursing is a great choice for RNs who want to explore the country, see new locations and meet new people. Travel nursing may be more difficult for a nurse with a family or other commitments that would make it difficult to be gone on an assignment for several months. While there is no specific training program to become a travel nurse, agencies often don't accept new graduates and require several years of work experience. For an adventurous nurse looking for the opportunity to travel and expand his or work horizons, travel nursing can be a great career choice!

Why I Want To Be A Nurse
© 2011 WhyIWantToBeANurse.org. All Rights Reserved