Plenty of people are satisfied with jobs that require them to see the same surroundings and talk with the same people day after day. But if that’s not an ideal situation for you, if you’d rather have a job that allows you to explore new places and meet new people throughout the country, then it’s time to think about becoming a travel nurse. Travel nursing jobs are available in exciting destinations all over America. As a traveler, you’ll work for top-notch facilities, and when you aren’t working, you’ll be able to explore your new city at your leisure. After each contract, you’ll have a deeper appreciation for the many cultural differences you’ll find throughout the country.
Why You Should Consider Becoming a Travel Nurse
Travelers are employees of traveling nurse companies. But unlike most employees, travelers can pick and choose from a list of assignments. When you join an agency, you’ll work with your recruiter to find the best possible destination and facility for you. If you have relatives located throughout the country, you could choose assignments that allow you to be close to them. With each contract you accept, you can look forward to the following:
- Salary: You’ll earn enviable wages as a travel nurse.
- Job security: There is a never-ending demand for travel nurses.
- Skills: Travel nurses grow their skills and knowledge with each assignment through exposure to a variety of situations and medical facilities.
- Flexible scheduling: Take a break between contracts when you want to.
Resume: Travel nursing is like a gold star for your resume. It lets you stand apart from hundreds of other nurses. Employers like to hire nurses who can jump into any situation and competently overcome it, and being a traveler proves you can do this.
Where You Could Go As a Travel Nurse
From Barrow, Alaska to Honolulu, Hawaii, and from Palm Springs, California to Cooperstown, New York, you can go virtually anywhere you want as a travel nurse. Nursing is a high-demand profession, and medical centers rely on travel nurses to fill in the gaps in their employment roster. You could travel north during the summer and south for the winter, if you wish, or reverse those trips if you prefer to experience the seasons in all their glory. Your travel nursing company will work with you to ensure your complete satisfaction with your placement. Some factors you may wish to consider as you peruse the available job listings include:
- The geographical location
- The attractions and amenities of the city
- The climate and seasonal weather patterns in the area
- The size of the medical facility
- Your previous experiences with the area
Some travel nurses have favorite cities that they like to return to now and then. Others prefer to seek out new destinations every time in order to take full advantage of an adventurous lifestyle and career path. The choice is up to you.
What to Know About Licensure
It’s easier than ever for traveling nurses to explore America, thanks to the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC). The original NLC was enacted in 1999. It enabled nurses to obtain multi-state licensure, enabling them to practice in any participating state without having to obtain a new license. This capability is crucial not just for career travel nurses, but also for those who occasionally travel to assist with natural disasters in other states.
Today, travel nurses benefit from the enhanced version of the NLC, which establishes uniform requirements to ensure that all nurses with multi-state licensure have comparable qualifications. Since the eNLC was implemented in January 2018, 31 states have already joined it and other states are working on legislation to become new members. This is great news for travel nurses, as it opens up doors all over the country. If you meet the following requirements, you can upgrade your license to an eNLC license.
- You hold an active, unencumbered license
- You have graduated from a board-approved education program
- You have passed an NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN exam
- You have passed a state and federal criminal background check (fingerprint)
- If you are an international graduate, you have passed an English proficiency exam
- You have a U.S. Social Security number
- You do not have any state or federal felonies
- You do not have any misdemeanors related to the nursing profession
- You aren’t participating in an alternative program
After confirming that you meet the requirements, you can apply for an eNLC license through your state’s board of nursing website. It may take a few weeks to process your new license, so if you’re tempted to become a travel nurse, you might want to start this process right away. Note that if you already hold an original multi-state NLC license, you’re already grandfathered into the new eNLC–there’s no need to apply for a new license.
How You Will Find Housing at Each Destination
Housing is one of the top concerns prospective travel nurses have, but in many cases, individuals find that it’s actually easier to obtain housing as a travel nurse than otherwise. When most people need to find new housing, they are on their own. But travel nurses have an entire team to help at their traveling nurse companies.
Stability Healthcare has a reputation for always putting the needs of their travelers first. You can choose from properties across the country. Travelers make excellent tenants, which is why residential building managers and rental companies reach out to Stability with offers for short-term tenants. Our team can also help you find reasonably priced housing, including furnished options. Of course, you could always find your own housing if you wish. If so, you can receive a lodging subsidy to reimburse you for the costs. Lodging subsidies are issued based on the General Services Administration (GSA) guidelines, which vary based on location.
What to Know About Insurance
Some travel nurses find it problematic to maintain health insurance, particularly if the plan their agency offers is less than desirable. That’s another reason why it’s crucial to choose the best possible travel nursing agency. At Stability Healthcare, travel nurses are covered from day one with United Healthcare. Employees can choose from four different plans to find the right fit for their needs. Plus, dental and vision coverage are included.
How to Get Started as a Travel Nurse
Now that you’ve had a chance to reflect on the many benefits of this career path, and to become familiar with the details of the arrangements, are you excited to begin your new adventure? Here’s a step-by-step checklist to help you get started on your journey.
1. Obtain your eNLC license.
Since it can take a few weeks for your license application to be processed, it makes sense to take care of this first. If you haven’t already applied, visit your state’s nursing board website and follow the directions. You may need to submit proof of your residence. Getting your eNLC is beneficial because it simplifies the process of working as a nurse in different states. However, it’s not mandatory. If you don’t currently live in an eNLC-participating state, or you’d rather not obtain an eNLC, then you’ll need to apply for licensure in each individual state that you wish to work in. Your travel nurse agency will help you sort through the nuances of licensure in different states.
2. Sign up with the best travel nursing agency.
This is one of the most important decisions you’ll make for your career. There are a number of factors you should consider when selecting an agency, including the agency’s reputation for professionalism and transparency, the HR policies (including PTO and insurance), and the satisfaction of their employees. Take your time researching your available options. Stability Healthcare is confident you’ll return to our website, especially when you read our testimonials. Once you’ve decided to partner with Stability, just fill out the online form to get started.
3. Take your pick of assignments.
There are thousands of travel nurse jobs to choose from at any given time. You can search by nursing specialty or location. When a job catches your eye, click on it to view more details. You’ll see the location, duration of the assignment, hours per week, shift, start date, and pay.
4. Arrange for your housing.
As soon as you accept a job offer, you can begin working with the team at Stability Healthcare to finalize your housing arrangements. Note that it’s quite common for traveling nurses to bring their spouses, partners, or other family members. You could decide to rent anything from a small apartment to a whole house, depending on your needs. Some travel nurses like to travel together. Stability can help you and a friend find travel nurse jobs in the same location, and sometimes even in the same facility!
5. Make plans for traveling.
Part or all of your travel expenses may be reimbursed by your agency. Stability Healthcare reimburses travel expenses up to $600 for each assignment you accept. If the location is within driving distance of your current residence, you might choose to pack up your car. Otherwise, flying to the destination is a sensible choice. If you’ll be flying with pets, you should research the airline’s pet transport policies well in advance. You may need to call the airline after booking your ticket to let the representative know that you’ll be traveling with a pet. Be sure to find out about the airline’s restrictions on animal carrier sizes and similar policies.
If you aren’t taking your car to your new destination, it’s a good idea to research public transportation options ahead of time. Many popular travel nurse destinations, like San Francisco, have multiple options. The use of public transportation is also an excellent way to get to know your new city better, and to meet interesting new people.
6. Arrive at your new city and attend orientation.
Travel nurses are expected to adapt quickly to each new facility and department. However, medical centers recognize that orientation is essential to support a successful assignment. If you work with Stability, you’re guaranteed to have an orientation at each facility. You’ll be given information about the sort of orientation you can expect when you’re headed to a new facility. Orientation typically lasts a week or less.
How You Can Make the Most of Each Assignment
You worked hard to earn your nursing credentials and get your career started. Now it’s time to put your credentials to work for you. As a travel nurse, you’ll have incredible opportunities to explore countless new places. A nursing job lasts far longer than a typical vacation, which means you can get to know each new city like a local.
Making the most out of each new destination is a process that begins before you travel there. Research your new home in advance and make a list of everything you’d like to do and see while you’re there. Perhaps you’d love to explore the nightlife or immerse yourself in the city’s cultural heritage, art scene, or natural wonders. Be ambitious with your plans; there’s plenty of time to do it all. And if you fall in love with the city and want to extend your stay, just ask about extending your contract. Another great thing about working with Stability is the company’s high rate of contract extensions.
Are You Ready to Start Your Exciting New Career?
Stability Healthcare is an industry leader in travel nursing, with excellent benefits, PTO, and competitive pay. Sign up today to become a traveler, and get instant access to thousands of open jobs. Our representatives look forward to helping you launch your new career in travel nursing.