Independent Nurse Contractor


The independent nurse contractor is a self employed nursing professional.  The type of independent nurse contractor most familiar to the public is the travel nurse. However, independent nurse contractors can be hired directly by facilities for special events.  This is a job which gives a great deal of freedom to the nurse and allows them to set their own schedules.

Independent Nurse Contractor Job Description & Scope of Practice

The Independent nurse contract is normally an RN with a 2 or 4 year degree. These nurses may have an advanced degree in nursing may be Associate or Bachelor of Science in Nursing RNs Their job duties will depend upon the agency hiring them. Normally, when working in a hospital or clinic the independent nurse contractor will take vital signs, take patient histories, and assess the patient’s conditions and document treatments and medications given.

The independent nurse contractor’s job is very similar to that of any other nurse working in that setting except they are not hired, they are contracted and their employment has a definite start and end date. These nurses will normally have a higher degree of expertise in their field and a great deal of adaptability to new situations. The nurse who desires a constant challenge and changing work situation is often drawn to the independent nurse contractor position.

How to Become an Independent Nurse Contractor

The nurse contract will often travel to their employment location. This type of nursing requires an individual who adjusts quickly to new situations and protocols. Generally independent nurse contractors are experienced nurses with a firm grasp on their nursing specialty. ICU and Trauma nurses are in particularly high demand.

Becoming an independent nurse contractor may be a temporary career choice or a permanent position, depending upon the nurse’s particular situation. The stronger the nurse’s resume and the greater their nursing experience, the easier it is to find positions as a contracted nurse.

Independent Nurse Contractor Education Requirements, Certification, and Schooling Programs

  • The nurse must be a graduate of an accredited nursing school and have earned a diploma or a Degree.
  • The nurse must be licensed holding an LPN/LVN or RN license.
  • Nurses with advanced practice specialties such as NICU nurses Trauma or ER Nurses may also be required to hold the appropriate certification in their specialty. The certification requirements vary with the nursing specialty as well as with the facility employing the independent contractor nurse.
  • The National Nurses in Business Association, Inc. (NNBA) provides critical information to nurses who wish to become independent contractors. Currently, there is no certification or designation that you must receive to start your own nursing business. Independent contractors negotiate contracts with various agencies including hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and correctional facilities. Those interested in pursuing an independent career in nursing might want to obtain certification in other areas such as emergency, labor and delivery or hospice to improve their chances of successfully negotiating contracts in their area of expertise.

Independent Nurse Contractor Salary and Career Outlook

There are currently more positions for skilled nurses than there are nurses to fill these positions. The Bureau of Labor statistics predicts that job growth in the field of nursing will be around 21% until 2018. This means the contract nurse will continue to be in high demand to fill temporary positions where the need is critical.

The salary of the nurse contractor is higher than that of the employee nurse. The travel nurse may be given accommodation reimbursements as well as travel allowances. While the independent nurse contractor is not obligated to work year round; if they choose to they usually make from between $57,000 and $70,000 a year.

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