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How Do I Become a Travel Nurse?

M.C. Huguelet
M.C. Huguelet

If you are interested in a career that combines working in the health care industry with domestic and even international travel, you may want to become a travel nurse. Before you can become a travel nurse, you must first become a registered nurse (RN) and gain some experience in the nursing field. Next, you should research travel nursing agencies, and apply with those agencies that seem to be in sync with your goals. Finally, you should review placement offers, negotiate your salary and benefits if necessary, and accept a placement that appeals to you.

Unless you are already a licensed RN, the first step on your quest to become a travel nurse should be to complete a nursing program. You may opt to complete a Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN), an associate degree in nursing (AND), or a nursing diploma. While completion of any of these programs qualifies students to take the RN licensing exam, it should be noted that RNs who hold a BSN may have more opportunities for career advancement than those with an AND or a diploma. After you have qualified as an RN, you will generally need to get at least one year of nursing experience before you can become a travel nurse.

Travel nursing agencies help place nurses in new positions.
Travel nursing agencies help place nurses in new positions.

Once you have fulfilled these prerequisites, you can begin the process of looking for work as a travel nurse. Most medical facilities hire travel nurses through a travel nursing agency. To maximize your chances of getting a travel position, therefore, you should apply with one or more of these agencies. Before you decide which agencies to apply with, do some research to find out which ones are most likely to help you achieve your goals. Find out whether prospective agencies tend to offer assignments in locations that interest you, and make sure you understand their pay rates as well as what kind of benefits, such as housing or insurance coverage, they offer.

After selecting one or more travel nurse agencies, you should complete all necessary application processes, which will typically include filling out paperwork, providing a resume and references, demonstrating eligibility to work in a particular country, and furnishing proof of vaccinations. Once an agency has your paperwork on file, you will be contacted when a position that matches your interests and qualifications arises. You will then need to carefully review all facets of the placement offer, such as pay, travel reimbursement, placement duration, and description of duties, and negotiate if you are unsatisfied with the terms. In many cases, you will also need to interview with the facility involved. If, after these steps, you and your prospective employer are satisfied that you are a good fit for the placement, you will sign a contract and then pack your bags for your new career adventure.

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    • Travel nursing agencies help place nurses in new positions.
      By: Andrew Gentry
      Travel nursing agencies help place nurses in new positions.