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How To Become A Travel Nurse

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Visit Amazing Cities, Take Care Of People

Are you lacking fulfillment, excitment, and challenges with your current employer ? As a nurse do you have a desire to contiually acquire new skills ? Have you ever wanted to travel ? If you answer yes to these questions then travel nursing may be for you.

Travel nursing rewards the nurse in many different ways: earning more money, learning new skills, and making friendships that last a life time. A travelling nurse will encounter a myriad of procedures, policies, and protocols that will elevate their professional skills, and at the same time save more lives. Because nurses "bust their ass to save yours".


Travel Nurse Companies

  The first step to becoming a travel nurse is to find a travel nurse company you would like to work with. There are travel nurse companies of all sizes, each might specialize in one or two things. Some companies offer higher pay, some offer more benefits, some offer shorter term contracts. Veteran travel nurse suggest speaking with two or three companies to get the best offer. Which ever agency you choose to work for should be one that you feel comfortable with, remember it is this company's recruiter that you will need to call on in case any emergency arises. There are many horror stories out there of nurses being left in difficult circumstances and their agency not helping or being late in responding to calls. When you find the agency you want to work for, make sure that you develop trust with your recruiter. It is essential that you feel comfortable with them, and you want to have confidence they will look after your best interests.


On The Job

 Once you get to your assignment a travel nurse will have one to three days of in class orientation, it varies from hospital to hospital. You will go through the same process as every new employee would go through before you step onto the unit floor. When you begin the actual hands on work you were hired for, you will be precept for someone, you will be introduced to charting, how often you take I/O's, learning how to effectively deal with physicians, shift charges, and other coworkers will take a few shifts to get used to. The better a travel nurse is to adapt to their assignments ways of doing things the less stressful your assignment will be in the beginning.
 Typical nursing assignments are thirteen weeks, some assignments are rarely longer, and some assignments are much shorter. At times you can take assignments that have emergency shortages, work six or seven straight shifts and earn a great deal of money. Also, each hospital will sometimes offer you an extension of your assignment, typically the same length as your initial assignment.


the open road

Licensing And Taxes

 As a nurse you will already have a license in your current state. Some states are part of what is called the Nursing Compact, you can find out if your state is a part of this by looking at the map below, compact states are in red. Utilize the internet to find the up to date list of states that are part of the compact.
 If it is not then you will need to get what is called a license by endorsement from that state. This process involves, providing your nursing credentials, paying the application fee, and a background check. The travel company you choose to work for should reimburse you these costs.
 Some states are quick about licensing and need minimal paper work. Other states such as California, Oregon, and Washington require more documentation, fingerprints, and aids awareness certification. It is advised to keep all your license, certifications, and endorsement in a safe, secure, file storage box, since you will need to refer to them before another assignment.


Taxes are different to individuals state by state, most travel nurses maintain some sort of residency in their home state to make filing and paying taxes easier. Each state you work in you will pay state taxes, meaning you will have to file a return for that state, as well as a return for your home state. The tax situation can become unnecessarily complicated at times and it is best at the end of each tax year, you refer a CPA to file your taxes. There are many CPA firms that specialize in individuals who travel for work, a quick google search will give you a complete list.


 Travel nurses are usually provided two options for housing.
 The first is the agency you work for will provide housing for you, usually they provide an all one type apartment that provides your internet, cable, trash, and utility services. These "community" type apartments are nice as they all have fitness rooms, pools, and other amenities that are helpful to the travelling nurse. 
 Remember what I mentioned about having a trusting relationship with your recruiter ? This is one of those times it is important. If you find your accommodations are not up to what was promised, or personal standards, then your agency needs to be there to respond to your requests. A travel nurses job is stressful enough without having to worry about things such as a non working fridge, an unsafe housing situation, or whether the internet is working.
 The second option for housing that travel companies offer is called a housing subsidy. The agency provides you with a lump sum each month that reimburses you for the housing expenses you incur. There are many travelling nurses who travel with their spouses in an RV, there are travelling nurses who are able to make more money by finding their own housing. Some travel nurses are able to find a job within the city they currently reside, this is a way to make additional money without incurring the headaches of travelling to different towns each assignment.
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Enjoying Yourself

 Arriving in a strange town for your first travel assignment can seem like a daunting mission. However if you have a good agency, and have done your research, getting to know the town will be that much easier. There are a few things that you can do when you first arrive: first, locate the nearest grocery store, find the nearest gas station, make friends with staff members. This is important, even if some staff members are distant, most will provide with information on places to eat, things to do, and areas to avoid.
At your assignment you will inevitably encounter co workers who are unfriendly or downright hostile. You will encounter shift charges who dump crappy patients on you, you will find yourself having to earn you place. This is a occupational hazard of travel nursing, some assignments that you might take may have you crossing a picket line, some situations will find you having to straddle the fine line of engaging or not engaging in workplace gossip. But most assignments are generally pleasant and people dont look at you as a traveler, just another co worker.


Become A Travel Nurse Now

 Being a travel nurse is an incredibly rewarding career choice, you will learn procedures you never knew before, meet some very interesting people and make lifelong friends. Some travel nurses find a an assignment they like so much they extend their contract, sometimes they even become a permanent staff person.




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