PIVOT Your Career by Taking a Travel Nursing Gig


In these days of shortages for qualified healthcare professionals – especially nurses – many hospitals and clinics across the country are dealing with staff crunches.

The nation’s hospitals lost roughly 8,000 jobs during the month of September, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported. As a result, hospitals must fill needs quickly — and this is where travel nurses come in!

Travel nursing is in demand and is a great way to advance your career and earn excellent pay while traveling the country. Here are 5 tips to keep in mind before you take the plunge:

 How Travel Nursing Works

Before you do anything, it’s important to have an understanding of how travel nursing works. Travel nurses are hired to bridge staffing shortages, which may be caused by a lack of qualified nurses in the area, seasonal population increases, or an expected leave of absence like maternity leave. To find skilled nurses as quickly as possible, these facilities work with recruitment agencies specializing in the field.

Know What You’re Looking For

Whether it’s earning the highest pay or getting the chance to live in a more moderate climate, every traveling nurse has different priorities and needs when choosing an assignment. RNs should make a list of their most vital criteria and express these to their recruiter. Typically, contracts are between eight and 26 weeks, though the most common contracts last 13 weeks.

Do Your Homework

Being prepared is at the forefront of successful traveling nursing. Researching licenses, facilities and locations are all important elements that contribute to a successful assignment. The more research done in advance, the more prepared a traveling nurse will be before they actually start working. In fact, having a state license in hand helps nurses land jobs in the locations they want. Facilities are looking for RNs to start quickly, so having the right license is essential for booking a specific location or facility.

The Pay is Good

In general, travel nurses are often paid well, because they’re filling a high demand for nurses. Total travel nurse compensation depends on multiple factors like your specialty, the contract details, and the location of the hospital.

In addition to your hourly rate, you’ll often be eligible for medical and dental benefits, 401K, bonuses, and stipends for housing, meals, and travel expenses. Keep in mind, that when working as a travel nurse, you’re employed by the travel nursing agency and not the facility.

You Have Housing Options

There are two housing options as a travel nurse: agency-placed housing or taking a housing stipend.

If you choose agency-placed housing, the agency arranges your living situation. The housing fees come out of the bill rate and ultimately decrease your take-home pay. Housing is deducted from the travel nurse’s “cut” of the bill rate. Agencies will coordinate and set up housing, which is helpful if you’re new to travel nursing.

If you want to bring home the most money, you can take a stipend and find your own housing.

A Last Word on Travel Nursing

Travel nursing is an exciting opportunity for RNs looking to experience the country, advance their careers, and earn a competitive salary. There are positions available every day throughout the country, and with the support of a good recruiter or staffing agency, you’ll find a contract that fits your needs.

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