Healthcare staffing can be a challenge for hospitals in the United States. Since the demand for nurses can temporarily change depending on the average number of patients, temporary staffing shortages, and seasonal fluctuations, it doesn’t always make sense for healthcare facilities to hire more full-time nursing professionals. That’s where travel nursing comes in.
Travel nurses can fill in staffing gaps and help hospitals provide outstanding care to patients while easing stress for their permanent nursing workforce. Becoming a travel nurse is a great choice for those who like new adventures and want to work in a variety of hospital environments.
What Does a Traveling Nurse Do?
Hospitals hire travel nurses for short-term assignments, averaging 13 weeks. They work alongside the hospital’s permanent nursing staff and must quickly adapt to the routines and policies of their new workplace.
Being a travel nurse is extremely rewarding and exciting work. By working in new hospital environments every few months, you’ll have the opportunity to build skills, explore new areas of the country, and meet lots of compassionate people. It’s a great short-term or long-term career option for nurses who enjoy new experiences and want to make a difference.
How Does Travel Nursing Work?
The best way to get started as a travel nurse is to work with a staffing agency, like TheraEx Staffing. Hospitals will contact agencies with their updated staffing needs so they can find skilled and reliable nurses from the agencies’ rosters of candidates.
Some nurses serve their initial assignment and have the chance to renew their contract for another term. Others move on to new assignments each time their contract ends. Travel nursing offers a lot of flexibility for nurses and employers while ensuring that nurses can get connected to new contracts when they are ready and able to work.
Travel nurses can be sent anywhere in the United States where there is a need for additional staffing. Nurses who are flexible and willing to go anywhere may be eligible for perks like sign-on bonuses for hard-to-fill contracts.
The contracts that are available at any given time will vary. Some states have more available assignments than others. Over time, you should have the opportunity to work in a variety of regions.
Working as a full-time, permanent nurse typically does not offer much flexibility. Most people get into travel nursing because they need shorter-term assignments that provide more options and autonomy.
Another major benefit of travel nursing is the opportunity to expand your horizons. You can work in different clinical settings, gain new skills, and enhance your existing skill sets. Travel nursing can boost your resume and allow you to gain confidence in a variety of settings so you can advance your career.
For many, the biggest draw of travel nursing is the novelty and unique opportunities it presents. People who thrive in fast-paced environments enjoy the challenge of working in different hospitals every few months. Additionally, travel nurses get to live and work in different areas while enjoying steady work.
There are also financial benefits of travel nursing. Working with an agency, you can be eligible for competitive pay and standard benefits like health insurance and retirement contributions. Some agencies also provide housing reimbursement that can make the overall benefits package much more attractive.
Travel Nurse Certifications & Skills
Nursing is a challenging field that requires a high level of skill and knowledge. In addition to your nursing license (RN), you need to have your Basic Life Support (BLS) certificate and an Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) certificate. You might also need a state-specific license to work in certain regions.
Before becoming a travel nurse, you need to have clinical experience. Nurses on short contracts have to adapt to new workflows very quickly, and you should be comfortable with standard nursing tasks before you start switching assignments every few months. Most hospitals require at least one year of experience, many require two.
Travel nursing is a great career path, but it’s not right for every RN. To succeed as a travel nurse, you have to be adaptable, resilient, and flexible. You have to be willing to learn to quickly integrate into a new clinical setting every few months. You also need to be reliable and trustworthy.
A positive attitude and a willingness to pitch in as needed are key. You’ll be working with permanent staff who might be stressed and juggling a huge number of responsibilities. To form good working relationships, you need to be proactive and ready to help out in any way you can.
As you work as a traveling nurse, you’ll build on existing skills and develop new ones. After you’ve taken on a few different contracts, you’ll have more confidence and be ready for anything. Skilled travel nurses can thrive and be successful in almost any clinical setting.
Accommodations and Lifestyle
Many people are worried about where they will live and what kind of lifestyle they might have on the road. As a travel nurse, you will be moving around a lot, so it’s best to keep your personal belongings to a minimum while you’re taking on short-term assignments. Most travel nurses rent furnished, short-term rentals each time they take on a new contract. Depending on the length of each assignment, you will likely move every few months.
The good news is that a high-quality staffing agency will help you arrange your travel nurse housing and may even offer reimbursement as part of your compensation package. That way, you can take new assignments with less stress and enjoy the freedom you’ll have as a travel nurse.
Travel nursing is a great opportunity to tour the country while earning a paycheck and gaining nursing experience. On your days off, you can explore the surrounding area, see the sights, try new restaurants, and enjoy the chance to try living in a variety of regions.
How Much Do Travel Nurses Make?
A travel nurse’s salary can vary depending on several different factors. However, nurses who take short-term contracts are typically paid more per hour than nurses working in direct, permanent positions.
Travel nurse agencies will negotiate a compensation package with you that should include benefits like health insurance, as you will typically not be eligible for insurance through the hospitals you work for. The salary for a travel nurse will depend on the current demand, your experience, and other factors that you will discuss with your agency contacts.
Why Should Travel Nurses Choose TheraEx?
Choosing the right agency is critical if you’re considering becoming a travel nurse. There are lots of logistics to consider when taking on short-term work and traveling around the country. An agency should provide you with assistance in arranging these details so you can focus on providing quality patient care during each contract.
Trust is important when choosing a staffing agency. We offer 24/7 support services for our nurses in case of an emergency. We also handle the paperwork and make each transition as smooth as possible for nurses as they choose a new contract and move to a new location.
TheraEx provides housing assistance, generous compensation packages, and has a stellar reputation within the industry. Our nurses receive personalized support and everything they need to be successful in their assignments.
Travel nursing jobs are exciting and fulfilling. If you’re interested in joining TheraEx Staffing as a nurse, apply now or give us a call at (866) 440-2445 to learn more!