On average, a registered nurse earns about $80,000 a year. Of course, this does depend on your credentials, experience, education, and a number of other factors.
Even so, if you’re thinking of getting your own RN license, know that a decent income is a definite possibility. And although the journey to becoming a nurse isn’t the same for everyone, there are a few things that anyone can do to get the most out of their learning experiences.
Do read our carefully outlined steps to getting your license below for more insight.
1. Studying the Requirements Specific to Your State
The very first thing you ought to do is look up the requirements specific to your state. Some states are a part of the nurse licensure compact which enables you to practice across multiple states with the same license.
Additionally, be on the lookout for other necessary requirements in the form of education, background checks, and more. Once you’re familiar with the rules within your state, you can then move on to getting the education you need.
2. Complete an Accredited Program
Find an accredited nursing program that’s approved by your State’s board of nursing. Since you want to pursue an RN license, you have to take a course that caters to that kind of training.
Make sure that whatever course you take is accredited and recognized. Your education will ultimately determine your job opportunities and salary to a large extent. When an institution is accredited it means that it meets that bare minimum standard set by the state board.
Find a good nursing school with a good track record, reviews, and credentials. Also, be on the lookout for scholarships or financial aid if you need it.
In addition to the usual program getting other nursing certifications are a great way to boost your employability and resume.
3. Get Experience Working Under an RN
During your course, you will have the opportunity to intern or work under an RN. Do take it to earn experience in your field and get on-field, practical knowledge about your job.
Supervised clinical experience is how everyone starts their careers, and it’s an important stepping stone to getting your own license to practice.
4. Apply for an RN License
You can apply for your license during the final months of your course, or after your course. If you want to expedite the process, apply towards the end, before your graduation.
Most states will allow you to access the application online. You may be asked to provide transcripts and pay a standard application fee. Once again, do note that the exact requirements will vary from one state to another.
Depending on your state policy, you may even be able to get a temporary license to practice.
5. Pass the NCLEX
Every one of the United States has the same licensing exam. This is the NCLEX. If you’re applying for an RN license, you’ll need to take the NCLEX-RN which might cost you approximately $200.
Your application is usually reviewed, and if accepted you’ll get around ninety days to schedule a test. Now, you can only take these tests once a year, so be sure to study and practice with the assistance of practice tests and other available material.
You can find good practice tests at the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. These computerized tests are designed to mimic what the real NCLEX is like. Once you’ve taken these, you’ll definitely feel more confident about taking the NCLEX.
Of course, this is not mandatory, but it does help if you’re someone who experiences test anxiety and would like to feel more prepared.
You have around 6 hours to complete your test, which follows computerized adaptive testing. This form of testing is one that adapts to the user during the test. If it senses that you are knowledgeable and well versed with your material, it may progress to more challenging questions.
The test stops when the algorithm determines your results with certainty or if you run out of time or questions. Depending on what state you’re in you will have to wait a few days until you get your final results. This usually takes around six to eight weeks.
6. Make Sure You Meet All Other Additional Requirements
Once you’ve cleared your exam, you have clear additional requirements required by your state. This could range from criminal background checks or an examination of professional and legal past. While having some sort of criminal history by itself should not automatically invalidate your license, withholding information could have different consequences.
It is advisable to be upfront and honest at the very beginning, rather than get found out later on and have your license suspended. You may also be required to sign waivers or other documents that give access to personal background information.
7. Getting a License in Another State
It isn’t necessary for you to go through this entire process again if you want to practice in another state. You will need to get your license verified by the state you used to practice in, and in some cases, you might have to take a refresher course.
However, as far as education or taking the NCLEX goes, you can skip them for the new state license.
Follow These Steps to Getting Your License
By following the above steps to getting your license, you should be an RN in no time. You can then explore various opportunities like working with a clinic or finding travel nursing assignments that work for you.
Once you get your license, be sure to check our website for the best travel nursing jobs available to you. We bring you the best assignments with the best pay rate around!Read More
Starting a career as a travel nurse is both exciting and frightening. We all know that starting in the nursing field comes with its number of common mistakes. But, when you add in the travel aspect, you’re bound to face even more risks of making mistakes.
1. Not Taking The Housing Search Seriously
When it comes to housing, travel nurses can work with their agency to arrange accommodations for them, or they can choose a stipend to find their arrangements. It’s common for new travel nurses to choose the latter as they believe they’ll be able to find reasonably priced housing and save some money.
However, most people underestimate how long it takes to find housing. By the time their assignments begin, many new nurses find themselves without housing arrangements. Not to mention, many find accommodations that are too big or too small for their needs, which can mean additional expenses.
How to Avoid this Mistake: Start by planning your house search way early in the process. Ideally, you want to talk with your travel nursing agency to ask for help with housing. Remember, they have experience making these arrangements for thousands of travel nurses across the nation. Whatever you believe you can do, they’ll probably do it faster and find a better deal.
2. Making Charting or Documentation Errors
As you’re going through nursing school, there’s a lot you focus on, but most people forget about paperwork. One of the most common mistakes new travel nurses make in the field is charting or documentation errors. Recording the essential patient’s information is a critical part of your job as a nurse. But, it’s also one that leads to many common mistakes. You must become aware of the proper way to fill charts and documentation, as any error can make you liable for lawsuits.
How to Avoid this Mistake: First of all, make sure you take the time to read through the documentation as you see it for the first time. Make it a habit to double and triple check your input before you file away a chart. Include any prescribed medication, discontinued medicines, every nursing action, any changes in your patient’s condition, and any order or suggestion given regarding the patient’s care.
3. Making Assumptions About Policies
If this is your first job as a travel nurse, you’re unlikely to make this mistake. However, if this isn’t your first assignment, but you’re still new to the industry, making assumptions about policies is a common mistake. Not knowing the procedures and policies of your workplace can be detrimental. While no one expects you to memorize them on the first day, you should follow policies and protocols after a few weeks in the role. Remember, never assume policies or procedures are universal; what works for one hospital might not work for the other.
How to Avoid this Mistake: Try to familiarize yourself with the policies and procedures of your new workplace before you arrive. Reach out to your travel nursing agency to see if they can help provide you with the right information. If you can’t do this beforehand, then make it a priority to ask about policies on your first week and start getting used to their process.
4. Not Asking for Help
Most new travel nurses fall for this mistake. Travel nurses are expected to be experts in the field, which leads new nurses to abstain from asking questions out of fear of looking inexperienced. However, not asking for help from a coworker or your travel nursing advisor might place you at risk of making a medical error that could potentially endanger a patient’s life.
How to Avoid this Mistake: Get rid of the idea that seasoned nurses are unwilling to help. Stop making excuses to avoid making questions. If you have a concern or question, reach out to coworkers, supervisors, and other personnel around you for help. Ideally, you want to find yourself a mentor that will guide you through the various situations you’ll encounter as a travel nurse.
5. Making Mistakes with Medications
While this mistake might arise from faulty administration policies, it is a common mistake many new travel nurses make. Dispensing the incorrect dosage, handing out the wrong medication, or giving a prescription to the wrong patient are all errors that most nurses have experienced. It’s common for new nurses to feel extra pressure, which can lead to a foggy mind, therefore result in common mistakes like handing out the wrong medication to a patient.
How to Avoid this Mistake: The best way to ensure you prevent this mistake is by focusing on your patient and having a clear mind. Try to find ways to manage your emotions and stress, as well as keeping your personal life outside of your work life. As a nurse, you need a sharp mindset to prevent as many mistakes as possible.
6. Not Being Prepared
Many new travel nurses get caught up on the excitement of their assignments and forget about the details. Making sure your state nursing license is ready, your credentials and other documentation are current, that you’ve done all required training and tests before deadlines. These are just some of the things you need to know before starting your assignment. Also, knowing who your supervisor will be, what floor you’ll be working on, and more is all part of the process.
How to Avoid this Mistake: Talk to your travel nurse agency recruiter and make sure they can guide you through every checklist item you need before you start your assignment. They should be able to provide you first-day instructions to give you a better idea of what to expect.
7. Skim Through Your Contract
Landing your first assignment as a travel nurse can be quite exciting. However, most people forget to read through their contracts and end up having questions or issues with the terms and agreements. Beyond the overall picture, you have to look at your compensation package and your assignment guidelines. The more you get familiar with your contract, the fewer surprises you’ll encounter than the road.
How to Avoid this Mistake: First of all, read through your entire contract. Look for sections that discuss missed-hours penalties, your untaxed income, contract violations, and more. If you must, try to find a lawyer with experience working with travel nurses to look over the contract before you agree to any commitment.
8. Not Having a Tax Home
Even many seasoned travel nurses make this mistake. Most travel nurses have what’s known as an untaxed income, or stipend portion of their salary. The only way to reap these benefits is by establishing a tax home. It’s not difficult to have a tax home, and your travel nurse agency can help you make sure you have all the paperwork needed to file for one.
How to Avoid this Mistake: The moment you start looking for your first travel nurse assignment, you should begin the process of filing for a tax home. There are many IRS rules for establishing a tax home, but if you have them all, it should be an easy filing.
9. Staying Too Long
Stemming from our previous common mistake, staying for too long is another common issue. It’s easy to fall in love with an area, but sometimes it can become a double-edged sword. When you stay too long on the same location, you can undermine your tax home, which means you might lose tax benefits. While “too much” is a challenging timeline to determine, you should avoid any long-term assignment contracts. If you don’t qualify for a tax home, then this is a mistake that won’t bring you any adverse effects.
How to Avoid this Mistake: Make sure you double-check your assignments timeline. If you’re working with an agency, let them know you have a tax home established, and you cannot work in one place for more than 12 months in any 24 months.
10. Failing to File All Your Taxes
We all make tax mistakes from time to time. But, new travel nurses often find themselves making the same tax error. It can be confusing, after all. As a travel nurse, you’re likely to move from state to state, which means you have to pay taxes in every state you work. It doesn’t matter where your tax home is, or how much your agency pays in taxes; you still have to pay them in every state. How much you pay depends on many factors.
How to Avoid this Mistake: Even if you understand your taxes well, as a travel nurse, it’s best to work with a professional. Because you have to deal with various state laws, don’t procrastinate on your taxes. Start working on your filings as soon as you can to avoid any penalties or issues.
While there’s no way to prevent these mistakes altogether, knowing about them can help you be more self-aware of your actions and your first steps as a travel nurse. Reach out to seasoned nurses and travel nurse agencies and ask them about the common mistakes they’ve seen, their stories might help you avoid some of these mistakes.
“I was checking the job board for Stability! I really like the transparency, I can see if it’s something I’m interested with the pay package. Super helpful!”
“The recruiter free jobs platform is great. I have control on my job search now and it’s comforting knowing the weekly rates are listed.”
Stability Healthcare’s recruiter-free job search allows you to have the freedom to view jobs and rates of your choice. Our unique platform brings technology and job placements together in an efficient and easy way, giving YOU the control and access to your career goals. As a travel nurse you are always adapting to new environments and Stability Healthcare creates the ability to have control of it all.
Tablets, smartphones, electronic medical records and other new technologies have permeated many nurses’ professional and personal lives. Without a doubt, the introduction of new technologies have brought considerable changes to a nurse’s day-to-day life, and it’s also changing the way job placements are handled. For example, charts are now easier to read and lab results can be available in real time, minimizing potential errors.
“Everything in our lives is made simple by technology; finding a travel nurse job should be no different.”
How Does Technology Help The Job Process?
- Easy Research- Stability’s recruiter-free search means you can view the jobs you want at the rates that you want. You’re given the opportunity to explore for new information that may not have been available before.
- Better Communication- stay connected with Stability Healthcare at your fingertips. Technology makes communicating with our team and your future placement more efficient!
- Instant Online Rates- two words: pay transparency. Who doesn’t love that?
- Faster Interviews- search for your job online, enter information on your profile, and select your ideal job, city and pay. These are all things that make your interview process quicker.
- Everything In One Place- have all your questions answered by visiting our FAQ page.
If you’re looking for a travel nurse agency, new housing or a new city for a new adventure, look no further than Stability. Technology doesn’t make or break a nurse, but it certainly helps put you in control.
While we can all acknowledge the advantages of using technology, it can sometimes be difficult to navigate. Stability has made it simple and easy. You’ll have more time for yourself as well as your family or current job. This is what we all live for, right? You’re using technology everyday, so why not use it while comparing your next nursing placement?
As a travel nurse you are used to adapting to new environments, cities and processes. Technology is the same way. It’s always progressing and evolving. From finding friends to finding a new food spot or hiking place- there’s an app for everything these days. Let technology be useful in your professional life not just your personal life.