What Is a Traveling Nurse?
One of the fastest growing healthcare positions today is that of traveling nurses. These health care professionals travel around the United States filling in for several months at hospitals, clinics, and other care facilities during staffing crises. A travel nurse is a registered nurse who is hired for a specific time at a specific location at least fifty miles outside of his or her home city. The typical travel nursing assignment lasts between thirteen and twenty-six weeks. Travel nurses generally get to choose from several assignments, thus giving them the opportunity to see and live in different parts of the country.
What type of schooling is required to be a travel nurse?
A travel nurse is required to have successfully completed a two or four-year course of study in nursing and to have passed the licensing exam in their home state. In addition to schooling, a travel nurse is required to have at least one year's experience in a clinical setting. To be placed in a nursing position in another state, a nurse needs to also pass the licensing exam in that state or have passed a state exam in a state that belongs to the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), an agreement among twenty-nine U.S. states that allows nurses to work in other member states without obtaining a new nursing license. Most healthcare facilities also require that you have current certifications, such as Basic Life Support and Advanced Cardiac Life Support.
What can you expect to earn as a travel nurse?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary for a registered nurse in the United States is $70,000 or about $33.65 per hour. Travel nurses can expect to earn considerably more, sometimes topping $90,000 per year. Most travel nurses also receive a compensation package that includes reimbursement for travel expenses (airfare, meals, and lodging) as well as a stipend to cover incidentals while traveling out of town and standard life insurance, health insurance, and 401k benefits. In addition, there are often sign-on and referral bonuses. If you own your house, you can also make additional income by renting out your home while you are away on assignment.
While a job as a travel nurse may not be for everyone, this type of healthcare position can be lucrative and can offer the chance to advance your career by working in different settings, in many diverse departments and, with a variety of people. For more information, contact a company like SOS Healthcare Staffing.