6 Steps to Become a Travel Nurse
Travel nursing gives you endless opportunities of traveling around the nation while gaining experience. If you’ve chosen to be a travel nurse, here is a simplified procedure for achieving your nursing goal.
1. Complete the Required Education
Just like any other medical career, becoming a travel nurse requires you to have a high school diploma. In addition, you should complete your nursing program at an accredited college. To become a registered travel nurse, you must undertake NCLEX examination with ASN or ADN
You can complete these degrees within two or three years, depending on your study mode. But many healthcare organizations now prefer candidates with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing compared to ASN or AND.
Taking an associate’s degree prepares you for entry-level nursing. These programs are less expensive and take less time to complete than a bachelor’s degree. On the other hand, a bachelor’s degree prepares you beyond the basic nursing curriculum. With a BSN, you’ll gain additional critical thinking and leadership skills.
You should then consider this trend as you undertake your travel nursing education.
2. Pass Your NCLEX Exams
Nursing practice is not static, necessitating a reevaluation of passing standards periodically. The current passing standard of NCLEX is -0.18 logits.
To pass your examination, ensure you understand the NCLEX format. More so, be comfortable with your study style. For example, if you grasp concepts well with visuals, drawing put rough sketches will enable you to pass the exams.
If discussions help you understand concepts better, create an active study group. But the general rule is to utilize mnemonic devices to help you grasp complex matters. Instead, try connecting ideas and learning from a holistic approach.
Once you pass NCLEX, you’ll become a registered nurse.
3. Gain Nursing Experience
Exposure gives you the necessary experience in your specialization. In addition to obtaining state licensing, you must become certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support and Basic Life Support. You’ll need additional licensing if you choose to explore a particular field.
Most health facilities require you to have at least one year of experience in your field of specialization. Remember, being a travel nurse is all about filling gaps in emergencies. So, organizations often need someone who’ll start working immediately.
So how do you gain experience?
Explore internship opportunities
Consider exploring internship programs to help you develop industry knowledge. You can learn more about healthcare facilities and organizations. In most cases, internship opportunities lead to connections that lead to future jobs.
Internships help you meet career mentors, test drive your chosen specialty, and boost your resume. Start searching for an internship while in school or immediately after completing the education program.
Look for volunteer opportunities
Volunteer programs are great for any aspiring travel nurse. You can consider opportunities at a local clinic, hospital, or healthcare facility. You can work after school or during the summer months or or work. Being a volunteer shows you’re compassionate about your job, which boosts your chances of getting hired as a travel nurse.
Consult your network
Your existing network can be of great help when it comes to nursing experience. Consider consulting professionals for career advice. These experts can recommend and connect you with reliable travel nursing agencies for work. You might consider your friends, family, professors, and teachers.
Explore related positions
As you seek to gain experience, ensure you apply for related positions. You can gain experience through data-entry clerks or lab assistants. These healthcare positions provide industry knowledge you can use to get started as a travel nurse.
Join a mentorship program
Mentorship programs are great for boosting your industry knowledge and networking. These programs match aspiring nurses with experienced and skilled professionals in the healthcare arena. A mentor answers critical questions and can recommend you for a role in the future.
Consider summer jobs
Boost your professional nursing experience by undertaking summer jobs. The standard summer jobs, such as caregiver, lab assistant, or camp nurse, are excellent.
But as you seek to gain experience, you must consider your interest. For instance, if you like working with kids, you may consider working as a camp counselor. Choosing a program you care about helps you enjoy your role.
Try to build network connections. Meeting and interacting with professionals can help you find a new role. Besides, staying flexible and patient will go a long way in a travel nursing career.
4. Obtain a Compact Nursing License
The Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact is incredibly convenient and valuable for travel nurses. This license allows nurses to practice their specialties across the country without obtaining an additional license.
The requirements to get a compact nursing license include:
- You must be actively licensed as an LVN, R.N, or LPN.
- Meet the criteria for licensure within your primary state
- You must reside in your eNLC state.
Visit the Board of Nursing website to obtain the license by an endorsement through an exam. Through the website, you’ll find the list of nursing compact states. However, you might find that some states are not listed. Some have pending legislation, so you shouldn’t panic.
5. Apply Through a Reliable Travel Nurse Staffing Agency
Finding a reliable travel nurse company can be unnerving. First, you must evaluate the support services, jobs, and benefits. The more contracts the agency gets, the higher the chance of getting a job.
The agency should have diversified assignments in leading healthcare facilities. For example, some of the largest travel nursing agencies have staffing contracts for the most prestigious medical centers.
· Check satisfied clients
Talk to fellow nursing colleagues and get invaluable information about the agency. Read reviews and testimonials on social media pages and their websites. Read accounts of other hired travel nurses.
A reliable agency will list the average pay of the advertised jobs. Some companies package nontaxable and taxable monies differently. So take your time to understand the enlisted benefits. When asking about benefits, know when your coverage starts and if the company will cater to licensing fees.
· Friendly and knowledgeable recruiters
A friendly recruiter is the most critical factor to the success of a travel nursing career. Ensure you ask the recruiters many questions and interview them as well. You want to find out their offer and plans for you.
It’s essential to establish a relationship and build rapport. Travel nursing recruiters serve as your advocate, sounding board, and partner in the nursing journey.
· Industry longevity and expertise matters
A longstanding staffing agency has vast knowledge, expertise, and connections in the industry. Their professionalism is unrivaled, and they offer stellar services. Working with industry experts will help you get job placements in prestigious healthcare centers.
6. Get Ready for the Assignment
Once you submit the application, recruiters will check your credential, experience, and area of specialization for the ideal assignment. Some companies require you to fill out the submission documents, which are hectic.
Instead, apply through an app at Marvel Medical Staffing for a hassle-free submission.
Gather your paperwork in advance, especially certifications and licenses. It’s common for healthcare facilities to consider candidates with the required paperwork. While agencies can cover the cost of medical records, having your medical records in order is recommended.
At this point, you’re ready to undertake your new role as a travel nurse. The process includes an interview and signing a contract. Be sure to read the terms of the agreement and compensation.