Travelling nurses: The cream of the crop

Traveling nurses have an exciting career that is at once rewarding and fun. If you're considering entering the travel nursing profession, it's best to equip yourself with the kind of information that will help you make your decision and speed you on your way with the right knowledge. Many benefits arise from opting for this particular field of nursing, some of them being better pay, professional development and travel opportunities that are hard to come by any other way. Here are some stepping stones to help you get started on this lucrative adventure.

First Qualify, then QuantifyTravelling Nurses Abroad

First of all, you need to be a registered nurse, or RN, with at least a year's experience working at a hospital. There are various coaching programs to help you clear the National Council Licensure Examination – Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN), the nursing certification exam. After this, the mentioned experience will have to be undergone, preferably in a specialty of your choosing. Obviously, the more experience you have prior to becoming a traveling nurse, the better the pay opportunities, but a year is the minimum requirement.

Hooking Up With An Agency

The next step is to sign up with a nursing agency, or travel nursing company, of which there are about 340 in the U.S. alone. You may opt to sign for more than one at a time, but keep in mind what your time restrictions will permit you to undertake at any given time. And then there's the bit about being in two places at once, but you already know that one. Signing up with an agency usually involves more than a little paperwork because you have to prove things and show things that nobody else would ask: work history, copies of licenses and certifications, immunization verifications, TB skin tests, chest x-rays, a doctor's note for fitness for work and travel, and a number of other documents that you need to produce. The advantage is, if you do it once for a particular agency, then copies are usually sufficient for contemporary ones that are competing for your services.

The Waiting Room

Once you're through with the formalities, you may be put on a waiting list for something of interest to you to open up, unless you specify that you're game for any kind of assignment. The agency will then get in touch to let you know what's up for grabs, and you'll have to make your choice. When you've done this, they'll send your profile over to the requesting hospital for their approval, after which the agency will make you an offer for the job, which includes dates, location, pay, rental allowances and a host of other contractual stuff that you need to go through carefully. When you're through wading through the legal wording, you're ready to start your first contract.

No Sister, Don't Do It!

Adaptability is crucial; if you can't quickly get used to new surroundings and hit your peak efficiency almost as soon as you reach your destination, you'll have a tough time of it. You'll most likely need to work as a resident stand-by wherever you go. You can't make really call any place your home because a year is usually the longest you'll stay. No pets, with all that traveling – not even homing pigeons. You'll need to be away from your family for extended periods, which can actually be a good thing depending on what your family's like. The worst part – having two bosses – the hospital and the agency; you usually can't please one without rubbing the other one the wrong way. However, you must stand strong and be loyal to the one…or the other…or both!

Beyond The Barrier

If you got past that without screaming your head off, you can probably make it. Now that you have all the necessary information about traveling nurses, and how to get to be one, make your decision, and if that decision takes you down this road, then good luck to you, and Godspeed.