Travel Nursing: 4 Things You Should Know
There is no profession in healthcare that compares to travel nursing. These nurses are afforded the opportunity to work almost anywhere in the country, and set their own schedule, all while earning competitive salaries.
You never want to enter any career endeavor blind, however. Before you pick up your first temporary contract, here are some must-know tips and facts for any aspiring travel nurse.
Finding the right agency is key
Before anything else, you need to connect with the right travel nurse agency. These companies will represent you, link you with facilities, set your salary rates and provide you with a host of additional benefits.
To find a travel nurse agency that will treat you right, be sure to do extensive research beforehand. Look for reviews to see if the agency has a track record of treating their nurses correctly. If you have preferences regarding role, location and the kind of facility you will be working at, keep that in mind while you research as well.
Thoroughly review your contract
Travel nursing contracts stipulate how much you earn, how long the assignments will be, how much the agency will cover and other special conditions.
For example: Most agencies will help with housing and other health benefits. A lot of them will help you look for temporary housing within the area, but some agencies may even cover for a portion of the costs. The extent and specifics of these benefits can vary greatly.
Before you sign any contract, you want to comb through the fine print. Be sure that all your bases are covered, and there is as little room for ambiguity as possible.
You have to meet basic requirements
Travel nurse agencies have to be discerning with who they onboard. While an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) is technically the bare minimum, most facilities heavily prefer nurses with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).
Some agencies will even ask for additional certifications and qualifications, depending on the job you are picking up. All nurses need at least Basic Life Support (BLS) certification. A good number of nurses also have Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) or Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS).
Before you can even pick up a nursing contract, you want to search up an agency’s specific requirements. Even “optional” certifications will increase your chances of getting hired.
Build your work experience
Speaking of requirements, most agencies want nurses who are tested and proven. Travel nurses are expected to adapt to new environments and systems on the fly, with a very minimal adjustment period.
As a result, RNs will need at least one to two years of relevant bedside experience in their chosen fields. If you do not meet this experience threshold, your application will not be considered.