In my former life, I was a Certified Surgical Technologist. So, I spent a lot of time with y feet in the medical world and my hands on my suitcase. One of the jobs in this field that always interested me was traveling nurses. Did you know that a travel nurse makes more than a nurse who stays in one place? As a travel nurse, you can not only earn a decent income, but you can take jobs at 3-6 months each to places you’ve never been to. Just think about it. There are nurses everywhere. Traveling nurses are needed, you guess it, everywhere. Want to live in Hawaii for six months? Be a traveling nurse. So how you become a traveling nurse and why do nurses travel anyway?
What Exactly is a Travel Nurse?
So this is easy. A travel nurse is a nurse who (drumroll) travels. Okay, okay, in all seriousness, a travel nurse is hired to go to a location for a set amount of time and work their usual duties. Usually, this lasts about 13 weeks but can be as long as 26 weeks, and then they’re on to the next place. They do a variety of specialties and are usually able to choose between several jobs in multiple areas. This is what is so fun about this. As a travel nurse, you get to pick a place that you’d like to explore and live there. And if it totally sucks, then you move on. You never know, you might really love the location and end up getting a permanent job there. But basically, you’re a domestic expat.
So Why is there a Demand?
Well, truth be told, nurses are in high demand everywhere. Many times, hospitals find themselves having a shortage of nurses and they have to recruit a travel nurse for the job. Just like any other professional temp service, the travel nursing staffing agency keeps a massive list of their available nurses so medical offices and hospitals don’t have to deal with those shortages.
If You’re a Nurse and Need to do Your Continuing Education, Here’s What to Do
If you’ve arrived at the decision that this totally sounds like something you would love to do but you don’t know where to start, you’ll want to start with making sure your nursing degree is up to par. Do you need to do online Nursing CEUs, RN CEUs, Nursing CEUs, or just find online Nursing Continuing Education? Do you need to brush up on your former degree? You can actually find a lot of resources online for continuing education in the nursing field. RN.org is a good one to look at. They offer Registered and Licenced Practical Nurse / Licensed Vocational Nurse Education in an easy to learn environment online, and you can earn State Board Approved Continuing Education Units or Nursing Contact Hours by taking Accredited courses. Plus, they have instant grading and immediate certificates. Like, this doesn’t get much easier really.
They are one of the more well known companies out there having serviced over 2 million online education courses for nurses over 20 years. It’s really important that you go through a company that has a long reputation.
They also have courses for Licensed Practical Nurses, Licensed Vocational Nurses, Nursing Assistants, Nurse Aides, Certified Nursing Assistants, Nurses Dietitians, Nutritionists, Home Health Aides, Midwives, Certified Respiratory Therapists, Registered Respiratory Therapists, Respiratory Care Practitioners, Approved Medication Assistive Personnel and School Psychologists. That’s a lot!
What I find really cool about RN.org is that they have a one rate program, and it’s way affordable at $19.99/year. I haven’t seen another program like this.
So What About that Pay?
A travel nurse’s income depends on their contract. There is usually a base pay, reimbursements, and non-taxable items. These areas can differ from job to job. It also depends on the cost of living in the area you are working in. So while you might get a lower base pay in say, California, your housing stipend would be higher. It’s really something you need to go over with a recruiter. Be sure to ask questions about meal pay, housing pay, travel reimbursement and base pay. An example of all of this might come out to be a bottom line of $40/hr.
Also, generally as a travel nurse, you will receive health benefits, dental, vision and so on. Some employers even have bonuses and match retirement funds.
Are You Ready to Travel?
Now, this is something you really need to think about. Are you ready to be away from home for 3-6 months? I have grown to learn that traveling can become exhausting. When I first became a travel blogger, I was thirsty. But six years later, I’ve settled in a bit. And now I don’t travel nearly as much as I used to. But, if I’m honest, I loved every second of it. And just because I slowed down, I’m still wanderlusting my way around the world. If I had to do it all over again I totally would because travel inspires you, builds confidence and opens the world to you.
If you think you want to be a travel nurse, make sure you have all of your online Nursing Continuing Education completed, then get with a good recruiter and start your journey. And remember, nothing is ever permanent. If you don’t like it, you can always go back home and work the grind.