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What Is a Travel Nurse?

  • December 17, 2021
  • 6 min read
What Is a Travel Nurse?

Travel nursing is becoming more common as people seek more flexible career opportunities and hospitals address their staffing shortages for which hospitals have hire services like the Orem staffing agency.

Many facilities are reporting an unprecedented number of vacancies, with Parkland Health & Hospital System in Dallas, Texas seeing 470 of 3,800 nursing positions available as of September 2021. Staffing burnout and an aging workforce contribute to the problem, but healthcare providers have alternatives when it comes to their medical staffing needs that they can count on in order to bring in temporary workers to fill the void if need be. Learn about the role of a travel nurse, the skills required, the necessary scrubs for women and men in nursing and why you might enjoy this profession if you’re an adventurous individual.

Source: NIKCOA/Shutterstock.com 

What Is the Dress Code for a Travel Nurse?

A travel nurse typically adheres to wearing medical scrubs, regardless of where they are stationed. In most healthcare facilities, nurses don comfortable scrubs in a specific color to help identify themselves as staff members and provide a sanitized outfit to protect vulnerable patients. 

While scrubs come in all designs, styles and colors, you’ll need to check what scrub color each medical facility expects you to wear before purchasing scrub jackets, tops or bottoms. When traveling between different hospitals, you’ll likely find each location expects you to wear a specific uniform. 

Source: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com 

What Does a Travel Nurse Do?

A travel nurse is someone who accepts temporary assignments on a contract basis. The individual must be a doctor of nursing graduate and a registered nurse (RN) with a license to practice. Travel nurses primarily work in hospitals to cover shifts due to staffing shortages. You’ll need roughly two years of experience as a registered nurse. Beyond that, there are no additional certifications required to fulfill this role. Typically the maximum time a travel nurse stays in one facility is up to 12 months, at which time they’ll move onto a new contract in a different location. 

  • Responsibilities of the Job 

Travel nurses perform the same duties as a traditional RN, including:

  • Administer medications to patients 
  • Administer vaccines to patients 
  • Contribute to medical records 
  • Reply to patient inquiries 
  • Communicate with doctors and other medical workers about their patients
  • Listen to patients and tend to their needs 
  • Skills Travel Nurses Require 

A successful travel nurse should possess the following skills:

  • Emotional intelligence 
  • Flexibility 
  • Adaptability 
  • Oral and written communication
  • Critical thinking 
  • Passion for travel
  • Compassion

The most important personality trait for someone interested in a career as a travel nurse is the ability to adapt quickly to new environments. Being friendly, outgoing and a good conversationalist makes transitioning to a new workplace easier. 

The Benefits of Travel Nursing 

Travel nursing provides a wide range of benefits to those who take advantage of the arrangement. Perks of the job include the ability to see different parts of the country, benefit from a guaranteed paycheck, gain experience at multiple facilities and work with various personalities. 

  • See different parts of the country. 

As a travel nurse, you can travel around the U.S. and experience life in different locations. From New York to California and North Dakota to Texas, you never know which corner of the country you may receive the opportunity to work in. For people who enjoy new places, this is a significant benefit of travel nursing. The ever-changing location of your work also means you won’t get bored of a particular state or city. Life will be exciting, and you’ll get to experience the culture and atmosphere of different cities across the country. You may even have the chance to travel abroad and see more of the world to satisfy your wanderlust while earning your usual salary. 

  • Never miss a paycheck. 

Travel nurses are in high demand. Researchers estimate the need for additional Registered Nurses will grow to 1.2 million by the year 2030. These statistics highlight the job security that working as a travel nurse provides. States like California and Texas face the most significant shortages, so you are sure to find work and a guaranteed paycheck working as a travel nurse. 

  • Gain experience at multiple facilities. 

If you’re looking to add experience to your resume fast and are struggling to find a permanent nursing position in your hometown, travel nursing is the ideal solution. Your flexibility and the urgent staffing shortage in many hospitals mean you won’t have difficulty finding work at any time, as long as you’re willing to go where you’re needed. By accepting these contract jobs, you’ll build an impressive resume of 6-12-month positions that demonstrate your diverse skill set and ability to adapt quickly. You’ll also have a new supervisor at each hospital or healthcare facility, allowing you to foster a network of references to call on when you need a recommendation in the future. 

Source: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com 

  • Work with various personalities. 

When you’re frequently changing jobs and workplaces, you’re forced to work with lots of different personality types. Although this can be challenging in the short term, it can help you develop exceptional interpersonal and conflict resolution skills. You’ll learn how to communicate with people in a way that achieves the best results and gain confidence in yourself and your ability to have discussions with your co-workers. 

  • Enjoy free housing. 

As if traveling to a new city every few months wasn’t reason enough, many travel nurses love this job because they can save money on accommodations. You can often work your housing into your contract for the duration of your stay in a town or city, so your employer is paying for your room or apartment. This allows you to save more of your salary for the future, whether you’re hoping to travel for pleasure or settle down and purchase a home. 

  • Access competitive pay earlier. 

For young nurses starting in the industry, travel nursing is a great opportunity to make a competitive wage while you’re gaining experience. Travel nurses with two years of experience make roughly the same as those with 15 years of experience. Making approximately $50 an hour plus paid housing, travel nurses can take home up to $3,000 weekly when starting out. 

Thinking of Becoming a Travel Nurse?

If you are a registered nurse looking for a taste of adventure and new experiences, working as a travel nurse is a valuable opportunity. You’ll expand your professional network, explore the country and earn a lucrative salary in the process. 

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