How Long Does It Take to Be a Traveling Nurse?
Nursing is a highly rewarding field that offers numerous opportunities for growth and career advancement. One exciting pathway within nursing is becoming a traveling nurse. These healthcare professionals have the unique opportunity to explore different locations while providing much-needed care to patients across the country. If you’re considering a career as a traveling nurse, you may be wondering how long it takes to embark on this exciting journey. In this article, we will explore the various steps involved and answer some common questions about becoming a traveling nurse.
Becoming a Registered Nurse (RN)
Before you can begin your journey as a traveling nurse, you must first become a registered nurse (RN). The path to becoming an RN typically takes around 2-4 years, depending on the program you choose. You can pursue an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Both options will qualify you to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become a licensed RN.
Once you have obtained your RN licensure, it is essential to gain some experience as a nurse before transitioning into the travel nursing field. While there is no specific requirement for the amount of experience needed, most travel nursing agencies prefer candidates with at least one year of clinical experience. This experience helps to solidify your skills and knowledge as a nurse and prepares you for the unique challenges of travel nursing.
Obtaining Additional Certifications
While not mandatory, obtaining additional certifications can enhance your chances of landing desirable travel nursing assignments. Certifications such as Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) can make you a more competitive candidate. The time it takes to obtain these certifications varies, but typically ranges from a few days to a few weeks.
Applying to Travel Nursing Agencies
Once you have gained the necessary experience and certifications, you can start applying to travel nursing agencies. These agencies connect healthcare professionals with travel nursing assignments across the country. The application process typically involves submitting your resume, completing an interview, and providing references. The length of this process can vary, but it is advisable to start the application process at least a few months before you intend to start travel nursing.
13 Common Questions and Answers:
1. What are the benefits of becoming a traveling nurse?
Traveling nurses enjoy competitive pay, flexible schedules, opportunities for career growth, and the chance to explore new places.
2. How long are travel nursing assignments?
Assignments can range from 8 weeks to 26 weeks, with the option to extend if desired.
3. What types of healthcare facilities do travel nurses work in?
Travel nurses can work in a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, and rehabilitation centers.
4. How often do travel nurses change locations?
Travel nurses typically change locations every few months, depending on the length of their assignments and personal preferences.
5. Do travel nurses need to obtain licensure in each state they work in?
Yes, travel nurses must obtain licensure in each state they wish to work in. Some states have a streamlined process for obtaining a temporary nursing license.
6. Are travel nurses eligible for benefits?
Many travel nursing agencies offer benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and housing allowances.
7. Can travel nurses bring their families or pets on assignments?
Some travel nursing agencies offer family-friendly assignments and accommodations that allow for pets. However, it is essential to discuss these options with your agency beforehand.
8. How does travel nursing affect taxes?
Travel nurses may be eligible for tax advantages, such as housing stipends and per diem allowances. It is advisable to consult with a tax professional to understand the specifics.
9. Can travel nurses choose where they want to work?
Travel nurses have some control over their assignments and can choose which locations and facilities they prefer. However, the availability of assignments may vary.
10. Is travel nursing a good career choice for new graduates?
While most agencies prefer candidates with some experience, some offer opportunities for new graduates. It is important to research and select agencies that cater to new graduates.
11. What are the average salaries for travel nurses?
Salaries for travel nurses vary depending on factors such as location, specialty, and experience. On average, travel nurses can earn between $65,000 to $100,000 per year.
12. Are there any risks or challenges associated with travel nursing?
Travel nursing can involve being away from family and friends, adjusting to new environments, and dealing with potential homesickness. However, many travel nurses find the rewards outweigh the challenges.
13. Can travel nurses take time off between assignments?
Yes, travel nurses have the flexibility to take time off between assignments if desired. This allows them to rest, recharge, and spend time with loved ones.
In conclusion, the path to becoming a traveling nurse involves obtaining your RN licensure, gaining experience, obtaining additional certifications, and applying to travel nursing agencies. While the exact timeline may vary, with dedication and preparation, you can embark on a fulfilling career as a traveling nurse and enjoy the numerous benefits and opportunities it offers.