How Does Travel Nursing Work | 2023

Travel nursing has been receiving lots of discussions lately, with well-founded reasons. It is a unique option for nurses and offers numerous benefits worth investigating. Suppose you are considering what you can do with the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree at Concordia University, St. Paul. In that case, you may be wondering what exactly travel nursing is, how it will perform, and what benefits it can derive.

The travel nursing field has recently experienced an unprecedented demand increase due to the COVID-19 epidemic. Many nurses are participating in the fun because the rates are too high for travel nurses. Let’s get more specific on how travel nursing functions and how acquiring your BSN will prepare you to succeed in this field of work.

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What Is a Travel Nurse?

Healthcare organizations face staff shortages and the need to hire travel nurses. What exactly is a traveling nurse? Travel nurses are employed in temporary nursing jobs in highly-demanding regions as professionals with a high level of expertise.

They can be found in hospitals, clinics, hospitals, and other places, offering patients throughout the nation high-quality treatment.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an eternal staff shortage and, in turn. Health experts attribute this trend to two primary reasons. First, as CNN reports, nurses on staff, tired and demoralized, are leaving and retiring at a much faster pace than hospitals can recruit new nurses.

In addition, numerous nurses have left their secure job for lucrative temporary positions that pay up to $5,000 each week through travel nurse agencies.

Professionals and students looking to pursue this career are encouraged to explore the duties and roles of travel nurses. They can also benefit from reading travel nursing advice and understanding the pay and outlook for the job.

History of the Travel Nurse

The travel nurse business was established in the 1970s as a response to the high-census health contexts.

  • High census occurs when the number of patients in a healthcare facility increases more than the staff they currently adequately care for. The word “high census” implies that the facility is overstaffed.
  • The term “low census” refers to the situation at the time when the number of patients in the healthcare facility is too small to utilize its entire nursing staff. In the simplest sense, a low census indicates that an establishment is overstaffed for a certain period.

The 1970s saw a persistent shortage of nurses in warmer southern states, like Florida and Georgia, which brought nurses from states in the north throughout the winter months.

The nurses were drawn to the seasonal swell of snowbirds, those who relocate for a portion during the winter to escape from harsh winters in the northern states. Read More: How to Get Someone Admitted To a Nursing Home | 2023

In the beginning, these nursing arrangements were not formal. Nurses could travel to meet the demand, but they were hired as permanent employees and would be let go at the end of the season.

Since these nurses did not have a particular agreement with their hospitals or clinics, these organizations also did not offer accommodation or additional wages. This was a good option for hospitals in warmer states who could not afford to hire such a large number of staff members throughout the year.

Today, professionals fit a similar travel nurse description. Travel nurses are often employed by healthcare staffing firms that specialize in locating temporary contractors throughout the United States.

They take a percentage of the amount a hospital could have to offer a nurse as pay. In return, they promote secured accommodation, competitive travel nurse wages, and transportation at no cost to new jobs in their traveling nurses.

Pros and Cons of Travel Nursing

Travel nursing offers a range of advantages and challenges to traditional nursing. It is beneficial to enter this field with a thorough grasp.

One travel nurse, Kallsen, who works with infants in the NICU, recalls her first experience as a nurse in a foreign country as follows:

Pros Of Travel Nursing

  • Get a well-rounded, excellent experience in a short time.
  • You could try your hand at different workstations and facilities to ensure that your work will never get boring.
  • It adds value to your resume.
  • Travel nurses can be more than four times the amount of compensation compared to traditional nurses.
  • They provide a wide range of benefits and can do most of the work by applying.
  • The ability to specify the places you travel to and what assignments you will take.
  • Possibility to take vacation time during the two contracts.

Drawbacks Of Travel Nursing

  • When you relocate, you have a long learning curve to master as you become familiar with the hospital’s procedures and policies.
  • It is not a good idea for families with children in school or those who have to stay home.
  • Relations are usually short-lived, and it isn’t easy to establish relationships with colleagues well.
  • You may be placed in a less-than-ideal place or a hospital, so you’ll need to wait and complete the contract before moving.
  • The presence of travel nurses raises hospital costs. When nurses are more likely to travel away from their homes, it results in a demand for local travel nurses, which increases the costs of local medical centers.

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You can see that traveling nursing is not for everyone. It is best for people who can live a life without any significant connection to a particular location. If you’re keen on traveling in this field, it has significant benefits worth investigating further.

How to Become a Travel Nurse?

Once you know what a travel nurse is and the duties is a travel nurse’s job, the nurses who are currently and in the future may be interested in learning what to be a traveling nurse.

The steps to becoming a travel nurse are as follows:

  • Achieving an ASN or BSN degree
  • Successfully passing taking the NCLEX to become a Registered nurse (RN)
  • Experience gained on the job
  • Being licensed
  • The process of signing with a travel nurse staffing agency

Earn a Nursing Degree

Any nurse who has graduated with a bachelor’s or associate’s degree from a nursing school accredited by the AANP is qualified to become an accredited travel nurse. There are a variety of routes that lead to meeting the education requirements:

  • Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) qualification for RNs who are starting out
  • LPN transition to BSN program to bridge for registered vocational or practical nurses as well as licensed paramedics
  • LPN up to ASN degree for registered practical nurses

You Must Pass the Nclex Test to Become an Nclex-Certified Registered Nurse

After earning an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing, the next step in being a traveling nurse will be to pass the National Council Licensure Examination, commonly referred to as the NCLEX-RN examination.

If they pass the NCLEX exam and meet the requirements of the state board of nurses, the candidates are eligible to become registered nurses. The next step is to begin gaining experience in nursing to apply for jobs as an RN on the road.

Get Experience In A Specialization.

Nursing professionals interested in travel nursing should plan and learn about the specialties they are interested in while also working full-time as an established nurse to be employed in special care settings as nurses on the road.

For instance, a traveling nurse who has never worked in a neonatal intensive health care unit will not be able to compete for NICU positions. This is the case for all kinds of specialties.

Attain Licensure

To become a registered nurse, an individual must have a license in the Country where they are employed. A nursing Licensure Compact (NLC) permits RNs to have a valid nursing license in a range of states.

The National Council of State Board’s Nursing maintains a record of those states which have adopted the NLC. If you are a professional in a state participating in the NLC, further licensing might not be necessary to be a travel nurse. Travel nurses looking to work outside of NLC require an additional license from the state(s) they wish to work.

What to Expect As a Travel Nurse

What exactly does an experienced work as a travel nurse? Travel nurses often take on roles in understaffed healthcare settings. The facilities expect them to fulfill all the duties of an ordinary nurse without any context to provide the care they provide. Travel nurses must be comfortable working in hectic, fast-paced environments.

For instance, a travel nurse might be assigned to an understaffed neonatal inpatient unit. The nurses working there might not have the time or resources to provide all the details of the hospital’s charting system or on particular patients. Travel nurses could be required to gather the information in the course of theirs.

Travel nurses sign contracts for temporary positions. The contract could last for several days or weeks or even longer. When contracts are over, Travel nurses can either extend their stay in the same place or shift to a different location and chance.

The duration of their contracts may differ, but most assignments range from eight to 26 weeks. Some nurses who travel find an opportunity to work for a short period that they love and seek permanent employment, but most continue to travel and work from home.

You’ll enjoy a great job with many advantages as a travel nurse. Here are a few advantages of traveling nursing:

  • Assistance with obtaining work visas and passports (if you work internationally)
  • Bonuses
  • Location of choice
  • Pay that is competitive
  • Housing for free
  • More than the average pay for RNs.
  • Dental, medical and vision insurance
  • Retirement plans
  • The selection of hours and shifts worked
  • Travel reimbursement

Travel Nursing Tips and Personal Characteristics

Travel nurses must develop the ability to learn new technologies quickly, embrace criticism with a smile and easily adapt to changes.

Personal characteristics that are helpful to nurses who travel are:

  • Ability to learn quickly. Travel nurses have all worked in traditional settings. However, they must be able to draw from their vast knowledge base when adjusting to new healthcare facilities. Certain healthcare facilities are different from the norms of practices and technology to be familiar with. Travel nurses must adopt innovative practices and technology quickly.
  • Willpower to persevere through difficult situations. Moving across states, becoming”the “new nurse” frequently while caring for patients with difficult conditions has many difficulties. Nurses who travel must be prepared for these difficulties.
  • Travel nurses can set their schedules in conjunction with the organizations employed. For instance, travel nurses may be required to work for nine weeks in the opposite part of the Country and then rest for a month.
  • The ability to work in different settings. Travel nurses must adapt to different care teams, especially when the teams and organizations aren’t equipped with the necessary resources to operate effectively.
  • A solid support system. Travel nurses often must be away from their family and friends for lengthy periods to work on temporary assignments. An individual or group of people that act as a hearing ear is essential to work long-term in the tense work of an experienced travel nurse.

Navigating Crises as a Travel Nurse

The demand for nurses on travel has increased in the wake of the pandemic. Burnout of clinicians is continuing to be a problem in healthcare.

A recent National Academy of Medicine report indicates that 35%-54 percent of U.S. nurses and physicians suffer burnout symptoms due to pressure from pandemics. The symptoms of burnout are:

  • Exhaustion from emotional stress
  • High depersonalization (expressed in cynicism towards the healthcare system or the healthcare system generally)
  • An unsatisfactory sense of personal achievement at work

In more normal circumstances, The American Nurses Association’s Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation study found that, at the very least, 69 percent of U.S. nurses said they were either completely or firmly convinced that they put the health of their patients and safety over their own.

The added pressures of the pandemic — such as the abnormally high mortality rates of patients and the absence of personal protection equipment, the lack of strictness regarding precautions for the pandemic and the divided public reaction to the vaccination role of nurses have taken the burden of the pandemic.

Following many nursing burnouts, hospitals and healthcare systems have turned to travel nurses to fill in the gaps. Because of the acute staffing shortages, healthcare facilities have been paying high rates for the much-needed staff.

Work With a Travel Nursing Agency

The final step in becoming a travel nurse is joining a travel nurse agency.

The benefits offered by every staffing company will differ, and so will their alliances with particular hospitals and healthcare networks, certain geographical regions, or particular nursing specialty areas.

Salary and Benefits for Travel Nurses

Higher pay is among the major advantages of traveling nursing, particularly recently. For a full year, nurses who travel get a salary of as high as six figures, as per Indeed. The traditional pay rate was around two times that of staff nurses. Today, however, travel costs are four times the rate for staff nurses, making it an extremely lucrative opportunity to earn a nurse’s salary.

Kallsen describes the pay rate as “absolutely crazy,” saying that this is “drawing lots of nurses to travel as it’s impossible to deny this possibility.”

Most travel nursing organizations offer a variety of benefits such as health insurance, a 401(k) plan that has an insurance guarantee of a match, and the option of paid time off for sick. They also provide financial assistance if you want to further your education or earn an advanced degree. They provide vacation time between jobs or cover the cost of travel and frequently provide housing or housing expense allowance.

When Can I Become A Travel Nurse?

It has been traditionally considered a profession that can only be considered after being a nurse for a few years. The rule of thumb is that organizations require two years of experience; however, due to the huge demand for nurses in our hospitals, newly graduated nurses can start earlier.

Every job, healthcare facility or nursing agency comes with distinct requirements. Some recruit travel nurses with just one year of work. Even if you’re not for as long as they prefer, they could collaborate with you and be open to your experiences. This means that in the next year or two, after having completed the BSN in Concordia St. Paul, you could be able to begin your journey into the field of travel nursing.

How Do I Find an Agency and Apply?

If you’re interested in traveling, check out the various travel nursing companies’ information before making a decision. They work with various hospitals, so look at what jobs are open for every agency.

There are groups on social media to interact with other nurses and review various hospitals and agencies, which are crucial in helping you choose the best option for you. If your job proves to be not optimal, keep in mind that it’s only a temporary position, and you can transfer to a different hospital or agency in the future.

See Country as Travel Nurse

Traveling for patient care can open doors for nurses who travel. They work for firms that hire RNs to fill various positions throughout the United States and abroad.

Nurses who are ready to take the leap and leave their nursing positions and join high-demand areas all over the nation can make a great career.

The continuing shortage of nurses has made it difficult for clinics and hospitals to keep their staffing requirements in check. Travel nurses can assist with ongoing staffing problems and fill in gaps during the time nurses are on leave. Travel nurses aren’t required to be in different states. Some work at local hospitals with inadequate staffing.

For nurses who are currently or aspiring to become nurses who want to gain different experiences, a desire to make new acquaintances and explore new places, as well as the desire to build an understanding of the healthcare system in other areas being an international nurse is an exciting career choice.


Who Can Become A Travel Nurse?

Registered nurses typically have between 12-18 months of hospital-based RN expertise in their field. The specialty of the nurse, the institution’s particular requirements, and the work experience required could be more extensive.

Travel nursing positions are available in various specialties; however, certain specialties, such as ICU or oncology, tend to be the most popular. Nurses with advanced certifications like CNMs, NPs, and CRNAs are also able to take assignments in travel.

 How Long Are Travel Nursing Assignments?

The typical assignment for nurses on the road lasts 13 weeks. However, anything between 8 to 26 weeks is typical. Hospitals are often willing the option of renewing your contract as well if you accept with them. These are known as extensions.

Extensions usually happen during the final 3 to 5 weeks of your job. However, if you want to stay longer, you should speak to your recruiter. There’s no need to wait until the company approaches you.

Where Can Travel Nurses Go?

There are a variety of travel nursing jobs offered across the Country; however, the location of the assignment will be contingent on the current demand for staff. While destinations for a vacation like Hawaii or California may be the ultimate destination for many new travel nurses beginning their careers, they’re highly sought-after and, therefore, might not have the same salary.

Can Travel Nurses Bring Their Families?

Suppose you’re a nurse on the road with pets or children–no problem! You’re still able to take on travel assignments. Indeed some travel nurse organizations allow nurses who have families to bring their beloved family members on assignments. Your recruiter will collaborate with you to work out certain details.

Can I Travel With Another Travel Nurse?

Yes! It’s not unusual to find RNs to take on the same nursing assignment for travel. Working in the same city or hospital and even sharing an apartment or complex is possible.

Sharing a room with a nurse provides you with someone to travel with and reduces the cost of housing. It is also possible to travel nursing together. Learn how one couple has done it and their advice to other couples of nurses.

How Long Will There Be Demand for Travel Nurses?

Although the demand for nurses on the road during the pandemic has slowed, there will be a need for travel nurses. The shortage of nurses across the Country remains an issue, but the number of nurses taking over nurses who are leaving or leaving the workforce isn’t enough.

In addition, emergencies and natural catastrophes arise and need a surge of traveling nurses that can be employed at the shortest notice.

How Do I Become A Travel Nurse?

We’ve created a comprehensive step-by-step guide to becoming an accredited travel nurse. It is also possible to fill out this simple form to be connected to up to four travel nurse agencies.

We have partnered with the best-recruiting companies, whose staffers strive to connect you with the top available opportunities.

Is It Worth Being A Travel Nurse?

In essence, it’s a highly lucrative profession when you’ve tallied everything, including housing, health insurance coverage for travel nurses, and competitive pay.

When tax time arrives, you benefit from myriad tax deductions for nurses who travel. Be aware that these deductions are subject to change depending on the location.

How Does Travel Nursing Pay Work?

Pay for travel nurses is usually described as a blended rate. This means that a part of the salary for a travel nurse is tax-deductible, while a part of the pay for travel nurses is paid in the form of tax-free housing stipends and meals/incidentals. If these rates are blended, this is the hourly rate for travel nurse pay.

How Long Can A Travel Nurse Stay In One Place?

How long can a traveling nurse remain in one location? To qualify as a traveling nurse, the work is to be temporary. Therefore nurses who travel can be in one location for at least 12 months. This is an example of IRS guidelines to allow tax advantages and other requirements.

Do Travel Nurses Choose Where They Go?

Can travel nurses pick which destinations they visit? A. Yes. You can choose your state of residence, hospital and healthcare setting.

Do Travel Nurses Get Housing Paid For?

Most agencies provide travelers with a housing stipend to help cover their work accommodation. This is included as part of the compensation package.

How Often Do Travel Nurses Have To Move?

The average nursing travel assignment lasts 13 weeks. So a travel nurse who is regularly employed could be expected to relocate four times during one year (52 weeks in a calendar year/13 is 4). However, 13 weeks isn’t the norm. Some nursing travel assignments can take as long as 26 weeks, and some can be as little as just four weeks.

Can You Quit A Travel Nurse Contract?

Nurses can Cancel Contracts.

Travel nurses can cancel their contracts; however, it isn’t recommended. Most of the reasons that travel nurses are unable to work are due to family emergencies, medical issues, personal emergency facilities that are not following the agreed schedule and time off, and poor work conditions.

What Does A Travel Nurse Schedule Look Like?

Individual contracts and hiring agencies vary; however, most travel nursing positions are 40-hour workweeks. They can be either five eight-hour, four-hour, four 10-hour or three 12-hour shifts but hours and working hours differ depending on the facility. The typical contract begins each time with an orientation that can last for several days.