Can I be a Travel Nurse if I have a 1 Year Lapse in Employment?
The answer to this depends on the company that will employ you. Each company has different requirements when it comes to who works for them. It can also come down to the types of assignments the agency has on its books when you walk in the door.
In order to be a travel nurse, you need to have current certifications. If you let any of your certifications lapse or become inactive during your year away, you will need to renew those certifications. Without those active certifications, the majority of travel nurse agencies will not employ you. This is especially true for nurses who work in specialization areas like dialysis and advanced practice nurses. Before you look for employment as a travel nurse, make sure your certifications are up to date.
You need to have a current license. Almost all travel nurses are either RNs or LPNs. Each of these positions requires a license. Holding a current license is often the first criteria you see on any travel nurse job description. If you let your license lapse during your year's lapse in employment, then you need to renew it immediately. That may not clear up the problem with some employers. They want to hire people dedicated to the profession. Taking a year off is one thing. Taking a year off and letting your license lapse in the meantime is another.
You need the appropriate experience. Travel nurses need extensive experience. For most, it does not matter if you take a year off if you have the appropriate experience before hand. However, if you take a year off after only a year working as a nurse, you likely will not get the job. Working as a travel nurse requires having experience in acute care, and sometimes critical care, situations. The longer the time away from this experience, the less likely a travel nurse agency will employ you.
You need to look for the travel nurse agency that fits your experience and requirements. Some travel nurse agencies try to force their nurses to take whatever assignment is currently available, whether it meets their requirements or not. That is the sign of an agency with problems. You want a company that sees you as an asset for the company, not just a name on the list. Many companies offer nurses continuing education help. For someone who is coming back into the workplace with a year off, that is a real incentive.