Career Spotlight – Travel Nurse


Travel nurses are a breed of nurses that like change. They thrive on adventures and love to see where the next job will take them. What is involved with becoming a travel nurse? Is it worth the time away from home? These questions can help you answer if travel nursing is right for you.

What is a Travel Nurse?

A travel nurse is a nurse who travels to different hospital units to work for a limited time, usually 13 weeks. The travel nurse has the option to move around the Country if she chooses and obtains licensure in different States. Usually, travel nurses are needed in hospitals that are short staffed. Therefore, the pay is usually higher than staff nurses. There are a variety of different specialty jobs are available for travelers.

How does a nurse become a travel nurse?

To become a travel nurse, most companies want a nurse to get at least 1-2 years experience. A new graduate nurse will have a hard time in the travel industry because the orientation time is around 3 days.

Once you have experience, obtain any certifications you may need to stand out from others. For example, a labor and delivery nurse may want to obtain her certification in electrical fetal monitoring.

Who should not be a travel nurse?

Those who dislike change will not like travel nursing. Your assignments are usually more involved than the other staff nurses, and you will most likely be running short staffed. If you are not someone who likes to be away from home, traveling may not suit you.

Who is a good candidate for traveling?

Someone who likes to travel, obviously. You can see all other areas of the country and work with a variety of people. With this, you will learn various ways hospitals do things.

You can get away from the cold in the wintertime if you live in a climate that tends to get a lot of snow. Traveling is nice, too, because you normally will work three days a week, leaving you time to enjoy yourself and explore the city.

How much does a travel nurse make, on average?

Due to nurses making various wages through the Country, for travelers, usually they make more than the staff nurses in their unit, plus medical benefits, retirement, CEUs, and housing stipends! The company will take care of you. Travel nurses are one of the highest paid nurses in the field.

How do I choose a travel company?

This is a hard question to answer because it is like choosing a loaf of bread in the supermarket. It is whatever suits your specific needs. Do your research, create questions to ask and interview the company before they interview you.

Overall, if traveling is an option for you, do it now. Many nurses practice for a long time, then feel stuck in a comfort zone, unable to break away.