What is a Travel Nurse?
A travel nurse is a registered nurse (RN) that works in temporary or non-permanent roles. Most travel nurses are contracted to healthcare staffing agencies rather than a single hospital or other facilities. They change jobs and locations depending on the agency’s clients’ needs.
The term travel nursing might imply more mobility than the job often entails. Most travel nurse jobs include a 13-week contract, meaning travel nurses move on average three or four times per year. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule with some contracts only lasting a few weeks and others covering an entire six months. It all depends on the client’s needs.
What do Travel Nurses do?
Travel nurse jobs are not dissimilar to other registered nursing positions. The main difference is that registered nurses who are contracted to one employer do not change locations every few months.
Travel nurses cover staff shortages or provide relief to an existing hospital team that has been overstretched due to a sudden influx of patients or staff illness. Training new registered nurses takes time, whereas a travel nurse agency can supply staff immediately and flexibly. Once travel nurses have joined their temporary team, they simply become part of that team for the duration of their contract.
Types and Specialties of Travel Nursing Jobs
Travel nurses are needed in almost every single specialty. They are also required to have at least one year of experience in acute care in their specialty to ensure they can fit seamlessly into new teams.
Despite the almost universal need for travel nurses nationwide, there are a few specialties that are more sought-after than others. These specialties include:
- Intensive care and progressive care units (ICU and PCU)
- Surgery and Telemetry or a combination of both
- Emergency room nursing
- Operating room care
These specialties are simply examples. In the United States, there is high demand for travel nurses in a wide variety of types of nursing, simply due to continuously growing demand.
Benefits of Travel Nursing
Travel nursing benefits all parties involved. By working with an experienced, reputable travel nurse agency, hospitals can avoid staffing gaps or fill any gaps immediately. Hospital administrators gain easy access to specialist nurses as and when they need them.
Travel nurse jobs also benefit registered nurses. These positions are an excellent way to strengthen a nurse’s resume and expand their experience quickly. Working in new environments requires adaptability and flexibility, adding to a nurse’s soft skills. In addition, travel nursing does not necessarily mean having to travel far. Some travel nurses rarely cross state lines.
Opting for travel nurse jobs is an excellent way to build a career, see new parts of the country, and work where nurses are needed most.