Healthcare Jobs

Travel nursing is a growing industry that emerged from the ongoing nursing shortage sometime in the 1980s. Today’s healthcare delivery landscape has amplified the nursing shortage and caused an even more significant surge in travel nursing jobs. Keep reading to learn more about travel nursing and whether or not this career path is right for you.

What Is Travel Nursing?

Travel nursing is when a licensed nurse, either a registered nurse (RN) or a licensed practical nurse (LPN), also known as a licensed vocation nurse (LVN), assumes an assignment that is away from their home. 

Nurses who travel a distance that requires them to maintain a permanent residence and temporary housing qualify for travel nurse benefits when working. Other times, there are travel nursing positions near the nurse’s residence. In these cases, the nurse may be able to pick up PRN jobs nearby to earn the high travel nurse pay but without the insurance, housing, etc. Or, the nurse may be able to pick up the contracts and make higher salaries since they do not need the benefits.

How to Find Travel Nursing Jobs

Hospitals and other healthcare facilities typically contract workers through agencies to fill travel nursing jobs. Contracts generally are eight to twenty-six weeks long, depending on the facility’s needs. Contracts can be extended if the hospital and the nurse agree and there is still a need for that position. 

With a shortage of nurses, there is ample opportunity to find a job in a location you’re looking for. Be sure to talk with multiple recruiters or other experienced travel nurses you may know. Agencies differ in benefits and pay, so finding the right agency is essential.

What Are The Requirements To Be A Travel Nurse?

Any registered nurse or licensed practical nurse can pick up travel nursing jobs. There are more options for RNs, and also those with a bachelor’s of science degree may find more jobs than a nurse with an associate’s degree.

Many contracts will require at least two years of experience for you to acquire your first travel nursing job. Not much orientation is given; you are expected to learn the unit in two or three shifts; this is why experience is necessary. It will help if you were licensed in the state you’re looking at or if it is part of the nursing licensure compact. Speak with your recruiter for help with this, for licensing could take several weeks depending on the state.

What Are the Benefits of Travel Nursing?

  • High Pay. Getting good pay, what’s a travel nurse make? Travel nurses usually make much more than staff nurses. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, registered nurses will earn an average salary of $108,070 in 2022.
  • Travel Reimbursement. The agency reimburses you for the cost of travel to and from your assignment.
  • Non-taxable Stipend. Because your job requires you to travel, you may receive compensation for housing and meals; you will want to discuss this with your recruiter.
  • Travel Nurse Housing. Your agency gives you money for the cost of accommodation while you are on your travel assignment. There are two options: get a one-bedroom apartment close to the facility you’re working at. The other is monthly payments based on the average cost of living; these are non-taxable. You can find pet-friendly housing and find better accommodations. If your rent is lower than the stipend, you keep the extra. Some people find a roommate, saving even more.  

Other Incentives to Become a Travel Nurse

  • Medical, dental, vision insurance, and retirement benefits. These are crucial factors to consider when deciding whether you want to go into travel nursing or PRN nursing instead.
  • Make your own choices. You can choose locations you might desire and have always wanted to go and work. You might like working at a rural hospital in a small town or a larger one in a big city. It’s your choice. Work contracts when you choose. You can take time off or work as many shifts as possible; it’s your choice. Working as a travel nurse can give you more experience in different hospitals and settings while helping you build a better resume. After working on a series of contracts, you might later have a better chance of being hired at a prestigious hospital – if you desire to work long-term.
  • Choosing a location. You have different living costs across the country, such as in California, Alaska, New York, Massachusetts, and Alaska, which are highly requested locations for travel nursing jobs. The pay might be higher, but your expenses may be a lot higher also; making a lower wage and staying in a more cost-efficient location might be a better option for you. Doing research before selecting a contract is essential.

According to the 2019 U.S. News & World Report most affordable states to live in are:

1. Iowa

2. Ohio

3. Indiana

4. Oklahoma

5. Michigan

6. Nebraska

7. Missouri

8. West Virginia

9. Kansas

10. Pennsylvania

What Are PRN Jobs?

\Working as a PRN nurse allows clinicians to work at hospitals close to their homes with good pay. PRN nurses work as needed instead of having a set schedule. They often fill in for absences of nurses, and hours can change from week to week. Nursa is an app that connects you to PRN nursing jobs near you. Download it today.

Written by Miranda Booher, RN

SEO Content Marketing Administrator Miranda has been a registered nurse since 2007 and has a healthy background in travel nursing, healthcare IT, and digital marketing. She brings an interesting combination of stellar SEO content management and copywriting skills and first-hand nursing experience to the table. Miranda understands the industry and has an impeccable ability to write about it. And speaking of travel - Miranda currently lives in Bolivia, though she maintains an active Registered Nurse license in the state of Ohio and stays current on the latest healthcare news through her writing. When she is not creating killer copy, or serving others through her work as a nurse, you can find her spending time with her family traveling in the Andes Mountains.

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