What is Travel Nursing?
Travel nursing is the specialization that employs nurses to travel between healthcare organizations, working wherever there is a shortage. Travel nurses are employed by agencies who help them to find temporary job assignments and to relocate. These assignments vary in length from as little as 4 weeks to as long as several years, and can be anywhere in the US or abroad. These nurses work anywhere that has a need, including hospitals, outpatient care centers, and clinics. They may work in small community hospitals or major research hospitals, depending on the particular assignment.
These nurses are responsible for performing the same tasks as nurses with permanent positions, but they must learn to adapt quickly in new surroundings. Travel nurses must also adapt to the policies and practices of various healthcare organizations. These nurses must have the ability to work well on a team, as they will constantly meet and work with different people. In addition, it is important for travel nurses to be experts in their field so that they do not require extensive assistance or supervision. These individuals must be capable of providing excellent patient outcomes when working independently.
What are the Benefits of Travel Nursing?
Travel nursing is a great option for those who enjoy a change of scenery and are excited by the opportunity to travel and meet new people. Travel nursing agencies often accommodate those who wish to travel with friends, family, or pets. This is great news for those who may have shied away from travel nursing to avoid being away from a family. It is also common for nurse friends to take travel nursing assignments together.
In addition to typical benefits offered by employers, most travel nursing companies reimburse for mileage and provide nurses with a free place to stay during assignments. In addition, this experience looks great on a resume.
What Education and Certification is required?
Travel nursing opportunities are available for LPNs/LVNs, RNs, and advanced practice RNs. Thus, one can become a travel nurse with any level of nursing education. In addition, there are opportunities in all specializations. There is no additional certification required, but most agencies do have a minimum experience requirement. The number months or years of nursing experience that one is required to have varies between travel nursing agencies.
What is the Average Salary of a Travel Nurse?
Travel nurse salaries depend on many factors, including the employer, facility, geographic location, and the individual's education and experience. Sometimes, travel nurse agencies offer bonuses in addition to regular salary. According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), the median salary for registered nurses in 2012 was $65,470, and the median salary for licensed practical nurses/licensed vocational nurses in that year was $41,540.
What is the Job Outlook?
The same 2012 report by the BLS states that the outlook for nursing is positive, if not excellent, for the years 2012-2022. The BLS predicts 19% job growth for RNs and 25% for LPNs/LVNs. The employment outlook for travel nursing is likely to be excellent, as these nurses go to wherever there is a shortage, rather than being limited to the jobs in their immediate surroundings.