As qualified professionals, travel nurses hold temporary nursing positions in areas of high need. They enter hospitals, clinics, and other facilities, providing patients across the country with quality care. The COVID-19 pandemic created a nationwide staff crisis and, as a result, an increase in demand for travel nurses. A travel nurse is a trained healthcare professional who performs tasks in hospitals that have short-term staffing needs.
Travel is an excellent career option for nurses who have a minimum of 12 months of recent clinical experience in intensive care and want to advance their careers, salaries, or lifestyles. Travel gives you the opportunity to develop your clinical competence through assignments at award-winning facilities, while visiting exciting new locations across the country. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics projects that more than 1 million nurses are required to meet current needs, and that employment opportunities for nurses will grow at a rate of 15% through 2026 compared to all other occupations (an average growth of 7%).
Payment for travel nurses, like all types of compensation, varies by location, specialty, experience, shift, and urgency of the hiring center. The best travel nurse recruiters will be honest with you about paying and give you their best payment packages right from the start. The life of the traveling nurse is suitable for people who tend to feel “stuck” or “suffocated” or even bored going to the same workplace every day. However, travel nurses can work on a contract assignment at a hospital close to their home if they want to.
Many centers tend to give traveling nurses “the easiest patients” and leave the sickest to staff nurses, especially for acute patients. Travel nurses can choose from jobs available across the country, but they must be licensed in every state in which they practice. A travel nurse must be a registered nurse in good standing with an active license and ideally have at least two years of experience. Travel nursing assignments are available for multiple specialties, but some specialties, such as ICU and oncology, are more in demand.
However, at this time, hospitals and healthcare staffing agencies are doing everything they can to make it as easy as possible to hire nurses for areas in need during COVID-19, including waiving state nursing license requirements in states that have declared state of emergency, requesting retired resident nurses to return to work, and more. Each time you accept a new assignment, you'll learn new nursing skills and gain experience in facilities across the country, ranging from small rural hospitals, where you'll be asked to work in all positions, to large urban medical centers, where you can specialize in the nursing area of your choice. Traveling nurses often receive generous compensation, depending on work location and facility. Bureau of Labor and Statistics projects that more than one million nurses are required to meet current needs, and estimates that employment opportunities for nurses will grow at a rate of 15% through 2026 compared to all other occupations.
We contacted nursing travel agencies to learn more about their rapid response assignments. Travel nursing connects you with people you would never otherwise meet, people from different cultures, neighborhoods, interests and hobbies. A BSN is not required to be a travel nurse, but some healthcare facilities only hire BSN trained nurses. .