How to become a travel nurse

Travel nursing is in demand. You are wanted and you are needed, baby! There are thousands of jobs around the country open right now and these facilities are willing to pay you top dollar to come to them. How do you sign up for this life? Becoming a travel nurse is truly something you can do. I will take you through the steps and hopefully, you can see how easy it really is! I promise, if this is in your heart, you can create this in your life. Nothing is holding you back but your excuses and maybe a bit of time to get some of these things done.

Traveling in healthcare changed my life (for the better). The places I have seen opened my mind, the experiences I have had filled my camera and heart, and the person I have become is bolder, more confident, and kinder than the person I was before traveling. If traveling, freedom, and growth sound like a good life plan to you- I will support you and help you reach that dream like I did! Let's dive into the steps.

Travel Nurse Checklist

  1. Be licensed in the state you want to travel to
  2. Have at least two years experience as a nurse
  3. Have a least one year experience in the specialty you are applying for
  4. Be up to date on your credentials
  5. Be able to pass a drug screen and have impressive references from your previous managers
  6. Have your paperwork complete with 3 companies to make sure you have better access to jobs and can apply quickly when they come up
  7. Say YES to adventures - eat a slice of courage and take the leap!

Step One: Go to high school

Get a high school diploma or GED with a GPA of at least 2.5, although many programs will require a 3.0 GPA.

Step Two: Go to nursing school.

Complete a nursing degree at an accredited college nursing program.

Step Two 1/2: Apply to scholarships

By all means apply for scholarships! Student loans are the worst (Can I get an amen!)

Step Three: Pass the NCLEX examination

After completing a nursing program, you are qualified to sit for the NCLEX examination.

You must pass this exam in order to qualify to be licensed as a Registered Nurse (RN) or Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) in the United States. This is the same for nurses that take permanent positions and for traveling nurses.

Step Four: Celebrate

Pull out the bazookas. You did it! You are a nurse. Congrats!! And thanks in advance for all the lives you will save and impact. You are a hero, hero, hero and please don't forget that.

Step Five: Get work experience

Pick a specialty that you like and also one that has travel jobs available. It is not easy to switch specialties as a traveler so put some thought into where you are going to take your first job.

Here is a list of specialties we commonly see in the traveler nurse world. If you click on the specialty, it will open up a new page that will show you exactly how many jobs there are in that specialty right now (And where they are).

  1. ICU RN
  2. ER RN
  3. Labor and Delivery RN
  4. Medical-Surgical RN
  5. Operating Room RN
  6. Psych RN
  7. Step Down RN
  8. Telemetry RN

The 2/1 Rule:

Two years as a working nurse: This will give you some time to get your confidence up and practice your skills before jumping into the wonderful, and sometimes unpredictable travel nurse world.

You might be wondering why two years? This is determined by the hiring hospital, the staffing agencies, and the biggest influencer -- JCAHO. There won’t be a lot of time dedicated to orientation and the hospitals need you to get working with patients pretty fast. So having at least two years will better equip you to handle those urgent patient situations.

One year: The average amount of time you need to be in the exact specialty you want to travel in. Your resume won't even be considered without specialized experience.

Who is not eligible to be a travel nurse:

That is it! You are now eligible! Pack those bags... (almost!)

Pack those bags after you read on. I want to make sure you know how to find the right recruiters, how to spot shady practices, how to set up a tax home, how to read your different looking pay packages, and a few other things to make sure you are empowered and ready! I'm here to guide you.

Cheers to education and to all the new nurses out there,

xo Laura

Mentorship, education, and inspiration

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