What is a travel nurse?
- A travel nurse is a nurse who is hired to work in a specific location for a limited amount of time.
- Travel nurses typically work 13 week periods in one area, and move around the country depending on where they are needed.
Who can become a travel nurse? What requirements are necessary?
- RNs and surgical technologists.
- At least a year of clinical experience in a hospital setting.
- You will need to be credentialed in the state you travel to.
How long is each assignment?
- On average, assignments can range between 8 and 26 weeks long.
What’s the pay like?
- The pay is usually very good.
- However, compensation varies based on skill level, specialty and facilities.
- Travel nursing agencies pay for housing while on assignment.
- Bonus programs, including retirement, medical, and dental benefits may also be available.
Do I still get full pay if an assignment is cut short due to low census (low patient count)?
- Usually there is no pay.
- However, your recruiter will attempt to find you a replacement assignment and the number of shifts allowed to be canceled will be written in your contract.
What is an extension assignment?
- This is an additional assignment you receive from the facility you are currently working with while a travel nurse.
- Hospitals usually wait until the last 3-5 weeks of your assignment to make an extension offer.
- Talk with your recruiter as soon as possible if you are interested in an extension and not wait for the facility to start the process.
Can I travel with another travel nurse?
- Yes. Many traveling RNs select assignments together.
- Requests to work in the same hospital, same city, share an apartment or apartment complex can be made.
Does working as a travel nurse affect future employment?
Travel nursing increases your skill level and make you a more eligible candidate for future nursing jobs, because:
- Short travel nursing assignments expose you to different regional nursing procedures.
- You may have the opportunity to work in a wider variety of specialties.
- It’s impressive to future employers when a travel nurse can drop into a clinical environment and successfully care for patients quickly and with high quality.
Can I take a travel assignment close to my home?
- Many facilities and agencies have a radius rule that does not allow you to take a travel nursing assignment within 50 to 100 miles from your home. This rule is in place to keep permanent local RN’s from switching to higher paying travel nursing contracts.
- About 80% of first time traveling nurses work within their home state or a neighboring state, (as per the National Student Nurses Association).
- Many nursing schedules give you multiple days off, making it easy to travel home for a visit.
What are standard travel nurse hours?
- Standard hours are five 8s, four 10s or three 12s, making it easy to travel home during your days off.
Can my family join me on assignments?
- Yes! but you may be asked to pay for part of your housing.
- Pets are often times welcome too!
How long has travel nursing been around? Will demand for travel nurses fall?
- Travel nursing companies started operations in the 1980s as a result of nursing shortages.
- Demand for travel nurses has been strong since and continues to grow.
- The Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates a shortage of 1 million nurses by 2020.
- As medical facilities need more RNs, the need for travel nurses will grow, possibly faster than the number of nurses in general.