How to Become a Travel LPN
Becoming a travel Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) offers a unique opportunity to combine your passion for healthcare with a love for exploring new places. As a travel LPN, you will have the chance to work in various healthcare settings across different locations, providing care to diverse patient populations. If you dream of embarking on exciting adventures while making a positive impact on people’s lives, here is a comprehensive guide on how to become a travel LPN.
1. Obtain the necessary education: To become an LPN, you must complete a state-approved practical nursing program, which typically takes around 12-18 months. These programs are offered by vocational schools, community colleges, and some hospitals. Coursework usually includes anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and nursing basics.
2. Pass the NCLEX-PN exam: After completing your practical nursing program, you need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) to become a licensed LPN. This standardized exam tests your knowledge and competency in nursing practice.
3. Gain experience as an LPN: Before venturing into travel nursing, it is advisable to gain a few years of experience as a staff LPN. This will enhance your skills and confidence, making you more marketable to travel nursing agencies.
4. Research travel nursing agencies: There are numerous travel nursing agencies that specialize in placing healthcare professionals in temporary assignments across the country. Take the time to research different agencies, compare their benefits, and read reviews from other travel nurses to find the right fit for you.
5. Apply and interview with agencies: Once you have selected a few agencies, submit your application and go through the interview process. Be prepared to showcase your skills, flexibility, and willingness to adapt to new environments.
6. Obtain necessary licenses and certifications: Each state has its own licensing requirements for LPNs. If you plan to work in multiple states, you may need to obtain licenses in each of them. Additionally, certain certifications, such as Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), may be required depending on the healthcare setting you will be working in.
7. Secure housing accommodations: Travel nursing agencies often assist with housing arrangements, but some prefer to find their own accommodations. Research affordable options near your assignment location and consider factors such as safety, proximity to the healthcare facility, and amenities.
8. Plan your finances: As a travel LPN, you will receive a higher salary than a staff LPN due to the additional benefits and compensation for travel expenses. However, it is essential to budget wisely, as you will be responsible for your own housing, transportation, and meals.
9. Pack essentials for travel: As a travel nurse, you will constantly be on the go. Pack essentials such as comfortable scrubs, shoes suitable for long shifts, a stethoscope, and any personal medical equipment you may need. Don’t forget to bring important documents, such as licenses, certifications, and identification.
10. Embrace flexibility and adaptability: Travel nursing requires a high level of flexibility and adaptability. You will be working in different healthcare settings, with varying patient populations and staff. Being open-minded and adaptable will help you succeed in this career.
11. Stay organized: Travel LPNs often have multiple assignments lined up throughout the year. Staying organized and keeping track of your assignments, licenses, certifications, and personal documents will help you manage your career effectively.
12. Network with fellow travel nurses: Connect with other travel nurses through online forums, social media groups, or attending travel nursing conferences. Networking with fellow professionals will provide support, advice, and potential job opportunities.
13. Take care of yourself: Lastly, taking care of your physical and mental well-being is crucial. Travel nursing can be demanding, both physically and emotionally. Prioritize self-care activities and find healthy ways to manage stress.
Common Questions about Becoming a Travel LPN
1. How long does it take to become an LPN?
The duration of practical nursing programs is typically 12-18 months.
2. Do travel LPNs earn more than staff LPNs?
Yes, travel LPNs generally receive higher pay due to additional benefits and compensation for travel expenses.
3. Can I choose where I want to travel as an LPN?
Yes, travel LPNs have the flexibility to choose their assignments based on location preferences.
4. Will I need to obtain multiple licenses as a travel LPN?
If you plan to work in multiple states, you may need to obtain licenses in each of them.
5. Can I bring my family with me on travel assignments?
Yes, many travel LPNs choose to bring their families along. However, it is important to consider housing arrangements and the needs of your family members.
6. What types of healthcare facilities can travel LPNs work in?
Travel LPNs can work in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, rehabilitation centers, and home healthcare.
7. Are there opportunities for career advancement as a travel LPN?
Yes, travel LPNs can gain valuable experience and expand their skill set, opening doors for career advancement.
8. How long are travel assignments typically?
Travel assignments can range from a few weeks to several months, depending on the facility’s needs and your availability.
9. Can I choose my working hours as a travel LPN?
While travel LPNs may have some flexibility in choosing their shifts, it ultimately depends on the facility’s scheduling needs.
10. Will I receive health insurance as a travel LPN?
Many travel nursing agencies offer health insurance benefits to their employees, but it is essential to inquire about the specific coverage and eligibility.
11. Can travel LPNs take time off between assignments?
Yes, travel LPNs can take time off between assignments to rest, recharge, or explore new destinations.
12. Can travel LPNs extend their assignments if they enjoy a particular location?
Yes, if both the facility and the travel nursing agency agree, travel LPNs can extend their assignments.
13. Is travel LPN a suitable career choice for new graduates?
While some agencies prefer LPNs with a few years of experience, there are opportunities available for new graduates as well. Networking and gaining experience can increase your chances of securing travel assignments as a new graduate.