Are you the type of person who loves traveling in addition to being a nurse? If yes, then being a travel nurse is just the kind of job you need. Sit back and relax! Enjoy a good cup of coffee and read this complete guide we have compiled for you on how to become a travel nurse in 2021.
In this guide, you will learn:
- What a travel nurse is
- How to Become a Travel Nurse
- Getting a degree
- Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)/Associated of Science Degree in Nursing (ASN)
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
- Passing your National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN exam)
- Starting work as a Regional Nurse
- Pursuing professional development opportunities
- Connecting with Nursing Organizations
- Applying to a travel nursing agency
- Getting a degree
- Perks of being a travel nurse
- Flexible Schedule
- Financial Stability
- Job security
- Travel nursing right for me or not?
- If not now, When?
So, without wasting any time, let’s get started.
What is a travel nurse?
Travel nurses are the Registered Nurses (RNs) who fill temporary employment gaps in hospitals. In other words, they bridge the gap between demand and supply.
They are offered a contract between 9 to 23 weeks which is extendable depending upon staff availability.
As a travel nurse, you will be assigned the task of your choice. Your position as a travel nurse ultimately depends on your specialization, the facility you will work in, and your patient’s specific needs.
Travel Nursing not only provides you a job with a handsome salary package but also gives you a chance to travel to different parts of the country. It’s also always great getting out of your comfort zone, learning some valuable skills, and making an impact in the life of those who need help.
According to Reuters’ March 2020 report, amidst the outbreak of Coronavirus, travel nurses’ demand has seen a tremendous increase.
Perks of being a travel Nurse
Now that you know what travel nursing is, let’s talk about the perks of being a travel nurse. Traveling nurses enjoy a plethora of benefits, including, but not limited to:
The best thing about being a travel nurse is, you can do it depending on your needs. You get time for everything, your family, friends, and patients at the same time.
If you want to spend some weeks with your family or friends, you can take a break. And yeah! You can join again whenever you want. Amazing! Isn’t it?
Imagine putting your heart out on something and still not getting paid as much you deserve. Well, guess what! In travel nursing, you get an even more salary than your stationary counterparts.
On top of that, if you work overtime, you will get paid even more. And when you are financially stable, you can keep your loved ones happy.
If I ask you what the best thing about being a travel nurse is, what will your answer be? Of course, traveling.
Not everyone around you gets this opportunity to travel around the country while doing a job simultaneously. Lucky you!
Traveling is not just about visiting new places, it also allows you to interact with locals. You make more friends and learn to adapt yourself to every environment.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, travel nursing demand will be doubled in the coming years. Well! The Coronavirus is proving them right.
Not only travel nursing helps you with job security, but you’ll have room for advancement as well. When you have a lot of experience in your pocket, many opportunities will knock on your door.
How to Become a Travel Nurse?
Traveling can be both thrilling and beneficial for a nurse who loves to explore different cities or countries and wants to learn something new every single day.
Today, Health facilities in the United States face a massive shortage of skilled nurses and have plenty of vacant positions. Therefore, it’s an excellent opportunity for you to step up to the task and choose the best-suited assignment.
If you want to be a traveling nurse, here is a complete 101 guide for you:
1. Getting a Degree
First and foremost, you need to get an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), Associated of Science Degree in Nursing (ASN),or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).
There are several educational paths to become a travel nurse, but the two most preferred are ADN and BSN. ADN is a two-year degree program, while BSN is a four-year program.
Meanwhile, ASN is also technically a two-year program, but it has some extra courses when compared to ADN and may take up to 3 years to complete.
Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)
ADN is a two-year degree program with a specialization in clinical rotation and in-class instructions. Many nursing institutions and community colleges offer an ADN degree program.
If you want to be a registered nurse(RN) as quickly as possible, ADN is the program you should go for. It helps you in developing all the technical skills you need to become a registered nurse. After doing ADN, you are eligible for the NCLEX-RN exam.
Here is more! ADN degree program is not only the fastest route to become R.N. but also the least expensive. After doing ADN, you can do a Bachelor of Science in Nursing as well.
Many students don’t know the difference between ADN and ASN. Apart from the slightly different name, ASN usually takes longer to complete due to added courses. ADN and ASN have similar equivalency. That is why ADN is the preferred method for a fast-track graduation.
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
BSN is a four-year degree program offered by many colleges and universities. After BSN, you will not only get hand-roles but leadership roles in different hospitals and healthcare facilities as well. After BSN, you are eligible for the NCLEX-RN exam.
Unlike ADN, BSN is the longer route, but it comes with more benefits than ADN. You will study microbiology, pharmacology, anatomy, nutrition, and many other medical courses. It polishes your skills, and you can treat patients according to their specific needs.
While BSN is not a requirement for becoming a travel nurse, some agencies only hire nurses who have this 4-year degree.
The clinical rotations during your BSN will help you to observe a typical nursing environment. BSN students also learn the practical usage of modern-day technologies and different medical-related software. This way, you can polish your technical skills in a far better environment.
BSN is the longest but safest route as you can easily secure good marks in the NCLEX-RN exam.
2. Passing your National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN)
NCLEX-RN is a computer-based exam conducted by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). This exam is a test of your basic concepts and skills that are to be expected from a practicing nurse.
The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), have designed the NCLEX-RN exam. NCSBN works with the Nursing boards of each state. The main objective of NCLEX-RN is to ensure meritocracy and unbiasedness.
But for being eligible in this exam, you must have a nursing license in your state. NCLEX-RN is divided into four major categories and six minor (sub) categories:
- Care Management
- Comfort and basic care
- Risk of a potential reduction
- Effective care environment
- Psychosocial Integrity
- Maintenance and Promotion of Health
- Psychological adaptation
- Infection control
NCLEX-RN is a test of your critical-thinking skills. All the questions are conceptual and based on the patient’s needs. You have to be calm and careful while choosing the best possible answer.
The NCLEX-RN exam topics are injury, care management, illness, disease prevention, and treatment. You can get detailed info from the NCBSN website for the preparation of your test.
3. Starting work as a Registered Nurse
After passing the NCLEX-RN test, gaining experience is the next step. You must work for not less than one year in any hospital or healthcare facility. That way you can learn to adapt yourself to the healthcare environment.
Every day you treat a different patient with different needs. Such kind of diverse environment helps you polish your skills and prepare for being a travel nurse. The more experience you earn, the closer you are to become a travel nurse.
I would encourage you to work in high-demand areas like ICU, emergence wards, labor, and delivery, etc. It will help you gain more experience in a short period.
4. Pursuing Professional Development Opportunities
It’s always an excellent option to work as a volunteer in any local or foreign organization – it helps you earn more valuable experience. Always look for professional development opportunities around you that will help to broaden your knowledge base.
5. Connecting with Nursing Organizations
Keep in touch with the nationally recognized nursing organizations. They will help you boost your knowledge-base and provide the nurses with the opportunity to collaborate.
Nursing organizations not only provide you useful information but also keep you updated with the latest developments within the industry.
On top of that, you will get certificates that help you grab more job opportunities
6. Applying to a Travel Nursing Agency
Applying to a travel nursing agency is the most crucial part of this whole process. Ones you have applied to the agency, you will start getting your assignments.
The travel agencies have contracts with different healthcare facilities, clinics, and hospitals. Choosing an area, population, and facility is always your call.
Is Travel Nursing Right For Me Or Not?
Travel nursing depends upon the nature of a person. No doubt, the profession of travel nursing comes with some tremendous opportunities, but it doesn’t suit everyone.
You have to evaluate yourself and your particular needs. You may be asked to leave the job suddenly or to stay at a facility for weeks. If you have a family, you may not be able to stay out of your home for periods that long.
Moreover, you have to work in high-risk areas. You may get called upon to attend to victims of a pandemic, catastrophe, terror attack, or wildfire. You must be mentally prepared for every possible situation.
However, if you are a travel freak, can stay away from your home for weeks, and love thrill and adventure, this is the ideal job for you.
If not now, When?
Being a travel nurse is a different kind of feeling. You can serve humanity in a far better way. And of course, when you are financially stable, you can keep your family happy and live a prosperous life.
So, if you are fully qualified to become a travel nurse and have followed our guide, “How to become a travel nurse,” Feel free to contact us and be a part of a beautiful family.