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What is Travel Nursing?

What is Travel Nursing?

The demand for travel nurses continues to rise and is at a historical peak due to our population’s aging circumstances. Life expectancy is increasing, creating what has been termed as a Silver Tsunami of baby boomers. This means healthcare organizations are managing, and will continue to experience, an influx of patients while simultaneously being met with a nationwide nursing shortage.

If you’re a nurse looking into travel nursing for the first time, you couldn’t have picked a better time to take this next step in your career. Hospitals across the U.S. are looking to hire nurses on contract to improve their staffing stability.

Becoming a travel nurse

If you’re a registered nurse and have two years of experience in a specialty, you’re an excellent candidate for a travel nursing assignment. Travel nurses are also required to be licensed in the state they are interested in working. Many seasoned travel nurses opt for getting their Enhanced Nursing License (eNLC), which permits them to work in 28 states. This license generally makes the application process much easier for nurses and can potentially make the nurse more desirable to both staffing agencies and healthcare facilities.

Travel nurses should also be flexible and open to working in a variety of professional settings throughout the country, as no two facilities are exactly alike. Travel nurses are typically contracted with hospitals for 13-week assignments. The assignment can be shortened, extended, or renewed, depending on the facility’s need at the end of the contract.

Benefits of travel nursing

Travel nurses enjoy a unique blend of perks. These individuals find themselves in an empowering position, being able to choose where they want to travel, the length of their time in any location, and what their schedule will look like. These options boil down to flexibility, being able to move closer to family or a destination you’ve always wanted to explore, or arranging your schedule to allow for longer weekends.

Increased salaries are probably the most prominent motivator for nurses looking into a travel career. Mobile nurses have an opportunity to make a considerably higher salary than that of their stationary counterparts. Additionally, if a travel nurse has a niche specialty, or commits to working overtime, their compensation can be even higher.

Hospitals rely heavily on travel nurses for varying reasons, depending on each healthcare facility’s unique circumstance. A leading motivator for them is filling temporary staffing gaps, stemming from absent nurses on medical or pregnancy leave, the need for additional support during peak seasons, or during the interim of full-time hires. An additional motivator is often monetary value. While a travel nurse’s salary is traditionally higher than a permanent nurse’s, facilities incur tremendous savings by having employee benefits taken care of by the staffing agency the travel nurse is hired through.

Destination opportunities

Travel nurse assignments are available anywhere in the country, whether you want to be in a large metropolitan area or a smaller, rural city. Narrowing down your prospective states will largely depend on your motivation. If a nurse wants to explore an area near the water, the location options will be distinct, but if he/she is more interested in earning the highest possible pay, there are several factors to consider.

California is one of the most sought-after travel destinations for nurses. While this state pays its travel nurses one of the highest hourly rates, it also comes with particularly high housing costs. If monetary compensation is most important to you, consider how far your new paycheck will stretch in the area you’re interested in working.

The World Population Review recently reviewed the top ten most affordable states in the country:

  1. Mississippi
  2. Arkansas
  3. Oklahoma
  4. Missouri
  5. New Mexico
  6. Tennessee
  7. Michigan
  8. Kansas
  9. Georgia
  10. Wyoming

Is travel nursing worth the hype?

Nurses who travel for work often say that travel nursing is a no-brainer. Although living out of a suitcase isn’t for everyone, if you’re enticed by exploring the country, earning extra money, job security, developing new professional skills, and meeting new people, you won’t be disappointed with this career path.

If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a travel nurse, you’ll need to work directly with a travel nursing agency. While there are over 300 of these staffing agencies across the nation, working with an agency that’s Joint Commission certified may lend itself to more opportunities. Larger hospitals typically only work with staffing agencies that have this certification, giving you more options at larger facilities throughout the U.S.

Let us be your guide

MedPro is committed to providing quality nurses and allied professionals in each healthcare facility we staff throughout the country. Part of caring for our nurses includes The MedPro Experience®, a personalized employee engagement program that embraces and celebrates you and your career. To learn more about this unique and exciting offering, contact us today at 1-800-266-8108, or apply here!