Travel Nurse

Travel Nurse Job Description & Scope of Practice
A travel nurse is a nurse that works in various medical facilities or hospitals throughout the country or around the world.  Traveling nurses carry out all general nursing duties in temporary assignments.  Assignments may be local, nationwide, or anywhere in the world and may average in length anywhere from about a month to a year or more.

This nursing position is best for those who enjoy new surroundings and meeting new people.  You must be confident in your nursing abilities since the position requires you to know the job thoroughly.  The traveling nurse job can be an exciting opportunity for nurses to travel to new and interesting locations while providing necessary services. Most often these nurses are new nursing graduates due to the extreme travel commitment required. This makes it easier for young nurses with a desire to see the world.

How to Become a Travel Nurse

Traveling nurses are often hired through a placement or staffing company that specializes in health care.  The nursing professional must have a wide variety of nursing skills and experience.  It is helpful to obtain at least a year of nursing experience working in a hospital setting.  These specialized positiong are most often hired through staffing agencies or placement companies.  There are many companies that offer positions for traveling nurses both in and out of the United States.  This type of nursing position must be licensed by taking the NCLEX-RN exam.  Additionally, traveling nurses may want to join a professional organization such as the American Travel Health Nurses Association (ATHNA).  Professional organizations assist nurses by promoting the profession as well as providing information and education resources for nurses.

Travel Nurse Education Requirements, Certification, and Schooling Programs

A travel health nurse must be a registered nurse.  The first step towards this goal is to train in a two or four year educational program.  You will need to have a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing or an Associate’s Degree.  The program must be accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC).  Once your education is complete you must take the nursing board exams through the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses, NCLEX-RN.

The American Travel Health Nurses Association (ATHNA) works for the advancement of travel nurses, but there is currently no certification available for travel nurses other than blanket Registered Nurse (RN) certifications. A Registered Nurse-Board Certified (RN-BC) designation, available through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) may help travel nurses secure employment with agencies.

Travel Nurse Salary and Career Outlook

Nurses are in great demand around the world.  Traveling nurses typically get paid by the hour, with rates ranging greatly depending on the location and assignment.  Average hourly rates range from $30 to $40.  Other benefits are often provided for the travel health nurse as well, including such things as relocation fees, bonuses, and room and board.  These nurses are usually paid through an agency.  Because the position requires you to relocate for extended periods of time, the salary is higher than that of a typical nurse.

The career outlook for the traveling nurse is very good.  There is an increased need for nurses which can be filled through the travel health nurse position.  The need for these types of nursing professionals is expected to increase substantially over the next decade.  Traveling nurses will often get substantial bonus or benefit packages depending on the circumstances of the job.