Exploring diverse corners of the United States can be a costly endeavor. One viable approach, especially for professionals in healthcare, is to sustain their travels through a travel position. Among healthcare professionals, nurses, in particular, find numerous exciting opportunities as travel nurses due to the high demand for their skills across the country. But what exactly is a travel nurse?
In essence, a travel nurse is a qualified registered nurse (RN) who undertakes temporary positions in various healthcare settings. These assignments may involve roles in outpatient facilities, understaffed hospitals, or even in home health. Furthermore, these opportunities span a wide array of specialties, encompassing areas such as the operating room (OR), emergency room (ER), pediatrics, and more. Although the responsibilities mirror those of full-time positions, the contract nurse engages in these duties for a shorter duration, typically lasting between 8 to 26 weeks.
In 2021, travel nurses constituted only 1% of the nursing profession. However, owing to the ongoing repercussions of the pandemic, this figure is projected to surge significantly, reaching an estimated 23.4% by 2028. Several factors contribute to this exponential growth beyond the uncertainties in the job market. The primary drivers are the flexibility gained from fewer working hours and the ability to choose positions that align personally with desired compensation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, travel nurses, on average, work 36 hours per week and earn $3,167, translating to an annual salary of around $75,000.
So, how does one become a travel nurse? The initial step involves becoming an RN through an accredited nursing program, which can be achieved through completing an associate degree, although many positions prefer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Other prerequisites include passing national and state exams, obtaining specific certifications, and often, acquiring experience in the relevant specialty.
Navigating these requirements is often streamlined by partnering with agencies specializing in travel nursing placements. These professional staffing services simplify the process by outlining necessary criteria, connecting candidates with diverse opportunities, and assisting throughout the journey by securing contracts, arranging housing, and providing competitive wages along with appealing benefits packages.
The allure of choosing when and where to work is a freedom many individuals cherish. It’s no surprise that an increasing number of men and women are seizing this opportunity, along with other associated benefits, by collaborating with agencies and embarking on the road as travel nurses. For those eager to delve deeper into the realm of becoming a travel nurse, the accompanying resource from Skybridge Healthcare offers additional information and a practical step-by-step guide.
Infographic provided by SkyBridge Healthcare, provider of med surg travel nurse careers