Travel nursing is one of the most exciting healthcare occupations. You have the ability to travel around the country making a difference in a variety of different healthcare facilities.
But travel nursing is not for everyone. Sure, the position comes with higher pay and tax-free money at times, but travel nursing takes a special type of person. You must be willing to travel every few months to meet the demands of your contracts, and you have to be willing to be flexible in order to find fast placement. If you can satisfy those two requirements, you’re almost there. Ask yourself the following ten questions and you’ll find out once and for all if you have it in you to become a travel nurse.
1. Which Staffing Agency Will You Partner With?
You will have more luck as a travel nurse by partnering with a staffing agency to represent you. Staffing agencies have relationships with healthcare facilities around the country. The team behind these organizations can represent you in the best light, helping you find assignments fast. Many organizations help with licensure and paperwork and can even assist with scheduling related to interviews and onboarding.
The bottom line is that the right agency can give you a leg-up as a travel nurse. You might be privy to all the latest job searches and get first-in-line priority when it comes to sending out your resume. Look for a staffing agency with a good reputation, plenty of experience in the travel staffing industry, and that has access to promising jobs with generous compensation packages.
2. Can You Find a Motivated Recruiter?
Having a travel nurse recruiter working on your behalf is one of the best ways to succeed in this role. Many staffing agencies have recruiters on their teams. Make sure the recruiter you work with understands your career goals, contract preferences, and job ambitions.
Once you find a good fit, having a travel nurse recruiter in your corner can act as a catalyst to a booming career. From sending out your resume and talking you up with hiring managers to helping you negotiate contract terms, there is nothing more career-building than having a motivated recruiter working for you.
3. Do You Have Enough Experience?
Many healthcare facilities want travel nurses with at least 18 to 24 months of bedside experience. Speak with your recruiter to determine if you have enough on-the-job training. You may find that you need to work a bit longer as a traditional nurse before going the travel nurse route.
4. What Contract Terms are Important to You?
Travel nursing contracts can last as long as 6 months or as little as 8 weeks. Other than the length of time, you’ll want to think about bill rates and housing stipends. Your recruiter can help you determine the payment and benefits packages that are most important to you. These elements can then be used to filter the jobs best suited for you during your employment search.
5. Do You Have the Right Licenses?
Jumping from state to state to find work certainly is possible as a travel nurse, but only if you have the proper licensure. Before you accept a contract for an assignment, you’ll want to check with your recruiter that you are qualified to accept. That includes having the right licenses. That means, as a travel nurse, you will be responsible for obtaining licenses in every state they work in. The exception to the rule is the compact license, which enables you to work in up to 35 states. More states may enter the compact in the future, so getting one of these licenses is likely worth the investment.
6. Is Your Paperwork in Order?
Travel nursing can involve a ton of paperwork. Signing contracts, sending authorizations for background checks, and onboarding documents for every assignment only add to the confusion. You’ll need to be organized to keep everything straight. The good news is that many staffing agencies will help you keep your paperwork under control. Many will store your licenses and make easy work of things like applications, onboarding documents, and other papers you may have to sign, read, or fill-out.
7. How Will You Find and Secure Housing?
After you’ve secured an assignment, you’ll next want to think about housing. If you’re going to be working at a hospital for 13 weeks, you might want to find an apartment close by. Many contracts come with housing stipends you can use to rent houses and apartments. This makes finding and paying for housing easier and can sometimes mean more money in your pocket. Keep in mind that finding suitable housing may be more difficult if you plan to travel with pets, friends, or family.
8. What Will You take With You on Assignment?
The final consideration you should make as a travel nurse is what to pack for each assignment. Because you’ll be moving so often you might want to pack light. Some travel nurses are fortunate to be offered company housing that comes with the assignment. Many of these ready-to-go apartments have furniture included. You may also find silverware, plate wear, and other items necessary to make your temporary housing comfortable. You might want to take knickknacks and photographs with sentimental value, just as you have something that reminds you of home.
9. Where Will You Work?
Travel nurses can go anywhere there are positions available. You may find yourself visiting the east coast, west coast, or somewhere down south. You might live in Paris, Texas, Tallahassee, Florida, or Kennebunkport, Maine. If you have your sights set on a particular location, let your recruiter know. However, the more flexible you are, the higher your chances of finding fast placement. With nursing shortages hitting some facilities particularly hard, you may find placement sooner than you think. And you never know, visiting certain places to work may open up opportunities to call those locations home at some point in the future.
10. Will You Specialize?
Travel nurses who specialize in certain fields will be more in demand and have an opportunity to earn higher salaries. Travel nurses can specialize in subfields like oncology, cardiology, geriatrics, and critical care. By specializing, you may find that hospitals want to float you from one unit to another. You can help to fill critical shortages and increase patient care, all while earning higher amounts for your training and experience.
Ready to Live the Travel Nurse Lifestyle?
Travel nurses fortunate to find a supportive staffing agency have good odds of finding work right away. With their clinical skills and willingness to help, travel nurses can have their recruiters secure them work in other states and all-new healthcare facilities. As long as you have answered the above questions and come away satisfied that you can meet the challenges of the occupation, you may find that travel nursing is indeed right for you.
Partner with ProLink Healthcare Staffing and get paired with a motivated healthcare recruiter. Get help with finding a job, securing state licenses, and organizing paperwork. We take the stress out of travel nursing. Apply today and start on the path to this rewarding and lucrative career.