How to Become a Travel Nurse- Kelley and Kay Blog
Travel Nursing Newbies creator and veteran travel nurse, Kay Epi Slane, partnered with our Chief Nurse Advocate, Kelley Johnson, to discuss “How to Become a Travel Nurse” on The Happy Traveler podcast. We took the audio from that podcast and turned it into a co-authored blog with direct quotes to answer more questions about becoming a travel nurse in a readable format. Questions about the travel nurse process are the single most-asked questions from staff nurses, and it is really pretty simple! Traveling has become a common career move within the nursing industry, and we wanted to bust some of the myths that make it a little confusing!
- Become a licensed Registered Nurse
- 1-year minimum experience requirement working as an RN, we recommend 2 years
Kay and Kelley: The recommendation of two years is for two reasons, even though the requirement is typically one year. The first reason is that we want to protect the traveler. Having more experience is important to the confidence of the traveler and decreases the chances for medical error. The second is to assist the hospital. Hospitals need travelers to step in right away and know exactly what they are doing. It is important that travelers can adapt quickly and learn new systems and facilities quickly.
- Find a travel job (use Wanderly!)
Kay: “That is one of the most frequently asked traveler questions: “how do I know what company is right for me?” I say, look at the profiles, look at the benefits, and do your homework finding reviews and reports so you can make an educated decision for yourself. I think every traveler should make a list of they want individually out of their assignment and location. Then, they can use Wanderly to find that perfect fit.”
- Apply for travel job (if using Wanderly, we have a universal application and skills checklist)
Kay: “I suggest that you use Wanderly to compare the rates and benefits from at least five different companies. Do your research, know what kind of reputation the hospital has, and make sure the agency is fighting for you. Make a list of questions and interview the recruiter and the agency before you choose, you have to find the perfect fit. If you have fewer options job-wise than other specialties it is very important to interview the recruiters and agencies to know you will be taken care of.”
- Interview/Obtain travel job
Kelley: “Be sure to practice common interview questions for nursing positions before you go into the interview. Always tell the truth, and look up the hospital, mission statement, and a few facts about the hospital before you go on. You have to show them that this is not just another interview, but that you genuinely care about working there.”
- Become licensed in the state you want to travel in
Kelley: “The majority of states can provide a temporary license. There are many resources you can use to assist in licensing, but the majority is through endorsement from state to state. If you know where your next assignment is, look up licensing requirements as quickly as possible. Keep all of your licenses as up to date as you can so you can constantly travel without having to worry about license obtaining or renewing.”
Kay: “I have done the hotel, extended stay, apartments, and RV living all while traveling. You will get a housing stipend, and you can use that money to figure out what kind of housing that you like for future assignments. There are many options for your first assignment; you just have to look at what is right for you. You can definitely travel with pets and children; you just have to do your research. There are also several travel housing groups on social media as well as corporate housing. Extended stays are really nice because you have all of the essentials. A lot of companies have discounts for travel nurses and you can by the month or week.”
- Head out and complete your assignment
Kay: “The best thing about travel nursing is that once you complete your first 13 weeks you can figure out what you like, what you don’t like, and go out and get it.”
Kelley: “There are tons of apps that travelers can use to find things to do outside of work on assignment. There are social groups and apps that have people who are always looking for others to join in on their fun, as long as you are willing to put yourself out there. We also recommend researching the area and going to any of the monument, show, activities, festivals, etc. that interest you. It is important to find a support group at home, on assignment, and online in traveling. Do not just stay inside the entire time; do not just go back and forth to work. It is important to make new friends and have a way to explore the new adventure.”
Kay: “Every traveler should be on social media to find groups and support systems. I recommend finding your community, and there is one out there for all travelers.”
If you have any questions about becoming a travel nurse feel more than free to reach out to Kelley@wanderly.us or Kay on Facebook in the group Travel Nursing Newbies.
“Travel Nursing Newbies is a proud partner with Wanderly, and we work with Wanderly to help you find a fantastic job and recruiter. Wanderly is doing great things, and we are excited about it.”