A Beginner's Guide to Travel Nursing

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The Dynamic and Exciting World of Travel Nursing

The need for specialized and flexible nursing professionals grows as the healthcare landscape evolves. Among the many career options that nursing provides, travel nursing stands out as a unique and exciting path. But what is travel nursing, how does it work, and what do you need to start your journey as a travel nurse? Let's explore these questions.  

Understanding Travel Nursing

At its most basic, travel nursing is a sub-sector of nursing where nurses travel to different locations, typically hospitals or healthcare facilities, to fill short-term staffing needs. These assignments can range from 4 to 26 weeks but are typically 13 weeks long.  

Travel nursing began as a response to nursing shortages, particularly in specific regions or during seasonal peaks. It has become an attractive career option for those desiring a flexible lifestyle, opportunities for higher pay, and a chance to explore different parts of the country or world.  

Getting Started: Education and Experience

Becoming a travel nurse requires the appropriate educational background, like any nursing career. This education usually involves becoming a registered nurse (RN) by earning a diploma, associate degree in nursing (ADN), or a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN). After graduating, you must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed.  

Experience is crucial in travel nursing. Before agencies consider you for assignments, you will typically need at least one year of experience in your specialty. The more specialized your skills and the more experience you have, the greater your opportunities and potential pay as a travel nurse.  

The Role of Travel Nurse Agencies

Most travel nurses work with travel nurse staffing agencies like FlexCare. These agencies connect nurses with healthcare facilities that have temporary staffing needs. They assist you in finding an assignment, ensuring your certifications are correct, and other logistics, making the transition to each new assignment smoother. When choosing an agency, consider their reputation, benefits, and the support they provide to their nurses.  

Benefits and Challenges of Travel Nursing

Travel nursing comes with a host of benefits. It provides an excellent opportunity to explore new areas, work in diverse clinical environments, and build new connections – both professional and personal. Travel nursing also often offers higher pay than permanent positions due to the high demand for these flexible professionals. 

However, travel nursing also comes with its challenges. The constant moving can be tiring, and adapting to new work environments every few months may be stressful for some. You may also find yourself away from family and friends for extended periods. Most find that the benefits of travel nursing far outweigh the challenges, though.  

Tips for Success as a Travel Nurse  

  1. Flexibility: The more open you are to different locations and work environments, the more opportunities you will have as a travel nurse.  
  2. Strong Clinical Skills: Keep your skills sharp and up-to-date. The better your skills, the more in demand you'll be.  
  3. Good Communication: You will be working with new teams regularly, so effective communication is critical.  
  4. Organization: Stay organized with your paperwork, including maintaining an updated nursing license, completing any required continuing education, and keeping track of your assignments. Check out our mobile app, FlexCare 360, to help you manage your travel career on the go! 
  5. Self-Care: Traveling and adapting to new environments can be stressful, so it's essential to prioritize self-care, intentionally nurturing your mental and physical health.    

Travel nursing is a rewarding career path providing unparalleled exploration opportunities, growth, and lucrative pay. However, like any career, it requires careful planning and preparation. With the right approach and mindset, you can navigate the ins and outs of travel nursing and make this dynamic career path your own.  

Top Paying Travel Nurse Jobs
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Team FlexCare

Since 2006, FlexCare Medical Staffing has become a nationwide leader in travel nursing, allied health, therapy, and LVN / LPN staffing services for top healthcare facilities. With office locations in Roseville, California and Charlotte, North Carolina, FlexCare is committed to creating a transparent environment that prioritizes clinician experience. As a result, industry authorities like BluePipes, Staffing Industry Analysts, and Travel Nursing Central continually recognize FlexCare as a top healthcare staffing company.