Travel Nurse Basics

What is a Travel Nurse?

Healthcare delivery has changed in the last twenty years as the demographics of the country change, our population grows, and as we experience advancements in medicine. Travel nurses help facilities meet the shifting demands for specialized labor that is in high demand. 


What Do Travel Nurses Do?

A travel nurse is a licensed nurse who takes short term assignments, usually 13 weeks, at facilities that might be experiencing staffing shortages. These shortages can be due to staff leaves of absence, seasonal changes in the patient census, or an overall lack of key skilled primary specialties.


How Travel Nurses Find Assignments

Travel nurses are assigned to a facility through a travel nurse staffing company, like FlexCare, where a recruiter will help them build their profile, search for open assignments, and apply. Travelers can also find assignments through numerous online job boards. At FlexCare, all our S1NGLEPOINT recruiters are experts in the process of becoming a traveler, including building your profile and understanding the nuances of the facility where a traveler might be assigned.   

Travel assignments are not the same as per diem assignments, which are generally by the day. Per diem nurses have more flexibility in their schedules and can take assignments that are closer to the nurse's home base. The downside of per diem is that these assignments have minimal job security and are subject to last-minute cancellations. 


Licensing for Travel Nurses

All travel nurses are required to have the appropriate license for the state in which they want to practice. Over the past several years, a compact license has been approved in many states that allows a nurse holding that license to practice in any of the other Compact states without having to obtain a separate license. If a state is not a member of the compact, like California, a nurse must apply for a single state license. 


How Much Do Travel Nurses Make?

There are many variables that make up a travel nurse pay package. These pay packages vary depending on the specialty, location, season, and shift but can be as high as $2,500 - $3,000 per week.


How Travel Nurse Pay is Determined



Travel Nurse Career Outlook

Opportunities for travel nurses continue to look bright as aging baby boomers retire from the profession at the same time that this demographic will need more medical care. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurse employment is expected to continue to grow through 2028. The utilization of travel nurses will ensure that appropriate staffing levels are maintained.

Search Top Jobs
Read More

New Traveler FAQs

Thousands of healthcare professionals have created great travel lives for themselves. Some even bring along spouses and children! Read some of the top questions we get from new travelers.

Read More
FlexCare Travel NICU RN

If you've read all the information above, you're ready to start searching for your first travel nurse job. 

Start Today