Within the healthcare industry, traveling nurse is a relatively new but rapidly growing career option. Travel nurses operate in hospitals and other healthcare institutions for brief periods of time to cover high-demand positions where qualified healthcare professionals are in limited supply.

Working as a travel nurse could be the ideal combination of purpose and adventure for those who love exploring new places, healthcare, and people. However, before choosing this career, it is suggested that a person must research thoroughly about a travel nurse in order to consider all the requirements, skill sets, characteristics, and other things needed to be done. Check out these steps to know more about how to become a travel nurse.


1. What Is a Travel Nurse?


A travel nurse is a registered nurse with clinical experience who works in a temporary or non-permanent nursing position. Instead of being engaged by a single facility, travel nurses are usually hired by an independent nursing staffing service. Assignments typically last 13 weeks, although they might last as little as four weeks or as long as 26 weeks. The primary job of travel nurses is to fill in the gaps left by unfilled full-time posts, maternity leave, leave of absence, and other reasons. When core staff is unavailable, travel nurses help departments run smoothly.


how to become a travel nurse


A traveling registered nurse often has at least one year of recent acute care experience in their specialty and sees a travel nursing assignment as an opportunity to expand their portfolio, explore the country, or try out a facility or location before committing to a permanent move.

Travel nursing offers a one-of-a-kind experience, allowing travel nurses to work with some of the most prominent doctors and practitioners in some of the most desirable places while learning about different nurse leadership methods.

>>> Read more: How to become a nurse?


2. How to become a Travel Nurse?

2.1. Take the required education to become a travel nurse


First and foremost, to become a traveling nurse, you must complete all the required education and certifications. You must obtain a nursing degree from a two- or four-year university. A bachelor’s degree (BSN) or associate’s degree (ADN) in nursing is required. Although a BSN is not essential to become a travel nurse, several healthcare facilities only hire nurses with a BSN. Your educational qualifications should be suitably matched by the staffing agency where you work.

Learning a new language is a necessity if you are planning to work overseas. If you want to become an international travel nurse, you should be fluent in the language of the country you will be working in, as communication is critical to providing effective healthcare.

The NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination) is necessary for licensing after completion of an accredited nursing program. Candidates will be eligible to become registered nurses after passing the NCLEX-RN exam and meeting the state board of nursing requirements. They must then begin to gain as much experience as possible in a nursing specialty in order to become a travel nurse.

2.2. Develop the necessary skills and characteristics


Secondly, one of the requirements to become a travel nurse is a diverse skill set, including both hard and soft skills, to succeed in their jobs. While university nursing programs help students develop the technical skills needed to work as a nurse, other skills can only be learned through experience and on-the-job training. Many critical skills can be learned in clinical settings.

If you want to become a travel nurse, you need to develop your capacity to adapt and communicate with a variety of people, as cultural differences and language obstacles can arise when working abroad. The skill set a travel nurse should acquire includes:


  • Communication: Travel nurses frequently work with a wide range of people, including other nurses, doctors, surgeons, patients, and their families. It is critical to be able to communicate effectively with everyone.


  • Organization: Travel nurses work in a variety of places on hospital wards and are responsible for multiple patients at the same time. Because their daily responsibilities vary and unexpected barriers frequently arise, staying organized is critical to ensuring that their ward works smoothly and effectively.


  • Teamwork: Travel nurses are only in one place for a short time but with a number of different healthcare professionals before moving on to their next assignment, being able to communicate with others and quickly form solid working relationships is necessary. 


  • Detail-oriented: Travel nurses must be detail-oriented since they work with medication and care plans to ensure patients get the care they need.


  • Adaptability: Travel nurses generally work across the county and occasionally overseas, so being able to adjust to various circumstances is essential. Travel nurses can operate effectively in each of their placements by quickly forming relationships with colleagues and asking inquiries about the needs of each clinical environment.


  • Conflict resolution: When a conflict arises between patients or staff, travel nurses may be present. Conflict resolution and mediation skills assist nurses in resolving workplace problems.


The skill set a travel nurse should acquire including


Not only skills, but characteristics are also needed to be considerate if you want to become a travel nurse. Those who works as a travel nurse usually have the following characteristic:


  • Ability to learn quickly: Travel nurses have all worked in a traditional nursing setting, but they must be able to adapt to new healthcare facilities using their extensive knowledge bases. Different standards of practice and technology to learn exist in various healthcare settings. Travel nurses must swiftly adapt to changing techniques and technologies.


  • The ability to persevere in difficult situations: The mix of moving to different states, continuously being the “new nurse”, and caring for challenging patients presents numerous obstacles. Travel nurses must be capable of dealing with these difficulties.


  • Flexibility: With the agency through which they work, travel nurses have the opportunity to construct their own schedules. Travel nurses, for example, might work for nine weeks on one side of the country and then take a month vacation on the other.


  • Can work in unfamiliar situations comfortably: Travel nurses must adapt to other organizations and care teams, which is often difficult when such organizations and teams lack the necessary resources.


  • A solid support system: To take temporary positions, travel nurses may have to leave their family and friends for extended periods of time. Working long-term in the unpredictable assignments of a travel nurse requires having a supporting person or group of people who can act as an emotional sounding board.


2.3. Gain Experience


Thirdly, gain experience, most travel nurse companies require at least one year or two of practical experience. Many travel nurses begin their professions by completing a graduate degree program. This program, also known as a Transition to Professional Practice Program, permits new graduates to complete a 12-month paid internship at a hospital or health-care facility. Graduate programs are not required for anyone interested in becoming a travel nurse, but they can help candidates build skills that are useful in the position. 

Because placements are transitory, nurses should receive experience before becoming travel nurses, which allows them to function efficiently without supervision on short-term assignments. ICU, emergency room, operating room, and labor and delivery wards are all high-demand areas for travel nurses. Getting experience on these wards might help a prospective travel nurse’s application stand out because they’ll know how to support their coworkers in these departments the best.


2.4. Work with a Traveling Nurse Agency


Lastly, try working with a Traveling Nurse Agency. Each staffing agency’s benefits will differ, as will their connections with specific hospitals or healthcare networks, specific geographic areas, or even specific nursing specializations. This is optional yet helpful to those wants to become a travel nurse because they could save you time in researching new places. 


These are the information on how to become a traveling nurse, hope that you have a clear understanding of the requirements and the time needed to become a travel nurse.