Travel Nurses – How to Become One?

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As with many careers there are certain parts of the country that have a surplus of nurses, while other parts of the country have shortages. If you happen to be in one of the areas that has a surplus of nurses you may be finding it difficult to find the right job. An option for you to consider, is to join other travel nurses across the country filling in where there are shortages. So, travel nurses, how do you become one? 

Travel Nurses – How to Become One

Education First

To become a travel nurse a person must first complete the necessary education to become an RN (registered nurse). To become a registered nurse  you will need either a high school diploma or the equivalent, a GED. Next, you will need to successfully complete a college nursing program that is accredited.

Although obtaining an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), which can be  done in 2 to 3 years, is a great start, some hospitals are looking for more. A Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN) is not required for traveling nurses, at this time, that trend could change down the road. More hospitals are beginning to require the BS and for their permanent job requirements, which means those same hospitals could require more education from their traveling nurses.

The final task is passing the National Council Licensure Examination  which is required by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing Incorporated.

What’s Next?

Once you become a registered nurse you have to get a minimum of 1 year of experience before you can become a travel nurse. Depending on the level of demand some hospitals will even require two or more years of experience Within the specialty you apply for. It is essential that as you move through your coursework in nursing and obtain your first job that you choose your specialty carefully.

Make Some Important Decisions

Next, you need to make some important decisions about what type of agency want to work with, what kind of nursing package you want and where you think you might want to travel.

Different agencies offer different types of services. It’s important to know what you are looking for and what your goals are as you start talking with and researching those agencies. Some agencies are good at helping you get  the experience you’re looking for. Other agencies are good at helping you travel to certain places.

You also need to know  what type of pay package is important to you. Agencies very and what they offer, what they cover and it can be very confusing. Is it important to you that your housing is covered? Do you need medical benefits? These are the kinds of questions you need to ask yourself before talking to an agency.

Finally, you need to determine  if location is important to you. Are you just looking to travel  or are you looking to travel to specific places? Are you traveling to gain specific experience? If so you need an agency that can help you locate where you can obtain that experience.

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Choosing a Travel Nursing Agency

Once you’ve answered all of the questions necessary you can begin vetting and choosing an agency. One of the best ways to find good agencies is by asking other colleagues. If after talking to  10 different colleagues eight of them all say this particular travel agency is great then you’re probably safe to choose that agency.

You can also refer to rating services. However, be aware different rating services look at and evaluate different areas sometimes. Be sure you are comparing “apples to apples”.

Become Travel Nurses

Once you have chosen agency you will need to fill out the proper paperwork and gather all the necessary  documents. Do not wait until the last minute for this process can take some time.

After you have submitted all the paperwork  and gathered all the documents you are now ready to become a travel nurse and secure your first assignment.

Becoming a travel nurse is a big decision, but has been very rewarding for many RNs. It allows a registered nurse to get different kinds of experience, gives a nurse an opportunity to travel and see the world and things from getting boring, staying in the same job year after year.

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