The travel nursing concept developed as the answer to a nationwide shortage of nurses. Many hospitals have a short term need for nursing staff and then is when specialized staffing agencies step in. Staffing agencies are usually specialized in one field and in this case that is a medical worker. Travel nursing usually refers to a nursing position but it can also include other positions in health care like a physical therapist, occupational therapy, and in some cases even doctors.
Why become a travel nurse
Why would anyone work a short time and travel that much? First of all, some skilled workers like to travel, and in this way, they can combine pleasure and work especially if we are talking about people that didn’t start a family and don’t have a need to be focused on one location. The second reason is pure and simple, supply and demand. Hospitals and clinics are willing to pay high salaries and offer more in terms of professional development and career advancement if they are facing a shortage of staff, and medical professionals can benefit from that if they don’t mind moving to random locations. Specialized recruitment agencies act as a middleman in the process, offering staffing solutions for the institutions and finding jobs for skilled professionals. They can also work without a recruitment agency as an independent contractor but they usually choose not to bother with the paperwork and leave everything to the agencies.
What do agencies do?
A recruitment agency’s job is to find skilled workers and hospitals and clinics that need temporary staff. Their responsibility is to be a middle man, a role that has responsibilities on both sides. An employer must be good and reliable and the temporary employees must be educated, experienced, and reliable in everyday work. The agency must take care of the workers’ paperwork, including checking the worker’s background, licenses, and education. Then the agency needs to present candidates to the institutions and take care of their application forms and demands, especially if the candidate is coming from another country or it is going out of the US to work abroad.
In some cases, recruitment agencies seek skilled workers beyond borders, and even on another continent. Some countries and regions in the world have a great culture and tradition in the medical profession, like the eastern block countries. Those workers are well educated, extremely experienced, and usually have lower demands when it comes to salary. Countries like Croatia offer a great number of skilled medical staff, especially in the city of Split which is known for the excellent university and clinical center.
In other cases, agencies can offer abroad job opportunities for US citizens, usually, charity organizations need medical staff in third world country areas. Those jobs can also be well paid but it presents more of the humanitarian work.
How to become a travel nurse
In order to become a travel nurse you need to have proper education, but most importantly you need to have certain personal characteristics to be able to do this job. If you are an adventurous type willing to travel a lot than you are on the right path. Not everyone is able to frequently change the working place and move. It sounds a little hard, but it sure brings some other excitements. Travel nurses can be placed in some of the prettiest places in the world. We got so many good words from our candidates that went to work abroad, they did work hard for a good salary, but they also enjoyed free time exploring new counties and learning about the different cultures. You don’t get an opportunity to see the majestic Blue Cave tour (read more) or Kilimanjaro mountain like our candidates did when they choose an international placement option.
The travel nurse should have these characteristics:
- Likes to travel and often change locations.
- Wants to meet new people and organizations.
- They like challenges, as each temporary job, location, and organization is.
- Wants to manage its own time and be flexible.
- Likes challenges and learn new things.
It is important to know yourself good in order to do this work! You need to be clear with yourself 100% and make sure that you are in command of your emotions. Support of family and friends is very important especially if you are moving your family for your work. We had many cases where individuals weren’t honest with themself and did this step and regret it. This job is not meant for everyone so ask yourself before continuing; is this a good thing for me? If you have a positive answer, we are happy to welcome you!
We require one year of experience in the chose specialty of nursing, and if you opt to go work abroad we are demanding that you have the basic knowledge of the language of the selected country. If you want we can organize an online language course and basic test afterward.
- A nursing degree with a two or four-year university is a must.
- An associate degree (ADN) is required.
- Bachelor’s degree (BSN) is required.*
- *BSN only is a policy in some health care institutions but is not demanded all cases.
- NCLEX-RN is required.
Important: The agency’s obligation is to check the requirement of the health care institution qualification demands and match with candidates’ skills and licenses.
Health care institutions may require specialty certificates for specific jobs. The most common certificates are listed below.
- Basic life support (BLS)
- Advanced cardiac life support (ACLS)
- Telemetry certification
- Pediatric advanced life support (PALS)
- Critical care nursing (adults, pediatric, neonatal)
Labour and delivery nursing:
- Neonatal resuscitation program (NRP)
Emergency room nursing:
- Trauma nurse core course certification (TNCC)
If the work of the traveling nurse is abroad then a valid passport, and working visa is required. The agency is assisting and taking care of the visa requirements at the embassy and the worker must take care of the passport. The expiration date of the passport must be one month after the end of the contract. Immunization is necessary for specific countries and world regions. Travel nurse needs to learn about a disease unique to the area of work if going abroad to endangered third world countries. Learning new languages may also be required by the employer, but the agency can help with that as stated before.