Being a nurse is one of the most noblest and rewarding jobs one can pursue. Becoming a travel nurse allows you to follow your passion for helping others while giving you the opportunity to travel across the country! The demand for travel nurses is higher than ever, but the big question is, where do you start?
We’ll talk about what you need to do to become a travel nurse; from getting your nursing degree to choosing the perfect travel nurse agency and even getting your first travel job! If you follow these steps, at the end of the road, you’ll have an exciting new career as a travel nurse. You’ll go on temporary assignments where you can learn new techniques and skills, try different specialties, and explore new cities and states along the way!
1. Earn your degree in nursing
Of course, this is your first step in becoming a registered nurse (RN). In order to do this, you need to first earn either an Associate of Science degree in Nursing (ASN/AND) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). This can typically take two to three years to complete with an AN+SN/AND degree. This specific degree often offers a combination of classroom lectures and clinical rotations. A BSN, on the other hand, is a four-year program. While this specific degree also offers a combination of classroom lectures and clinical rotations, it also helps prepare RNs for jobs in leadership roles. Whichever path you choose, both degrees will help make you eligible to take the NCLEX-RN. Which is the next step to becoming a travel nurse!
2. Pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN)
After you have earned your degree you will need to get your RN or LPN license. In order to do that, you have to take, and pass, the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). This exam will test your understanding and knowledge of nursing and will determine whether or not it is safe for you to begin practicing as an entry-level nurse. To take this exam, you must apply for a nursing license in the state in which you plan to work.
3. Gain Working Experience as a Registered Nurse
After you have your degree and your license to practice, it is time to get some experience! Before becoming a travel nurse, you’ll need at least one full year of permanent nursing experience at a hospital or other type of healthcare facility. You should take this time to determine the specialty that interests you the most. Choosing a specialty in a high-demand area is a great way for you to easily get a job as a travel nurse. Examples of this include, emergency room, ICU, Labor and Delivery, Telemetry, Pediatrics, and so much more!
4. Consider Professional Development Opportunities and Volunteer Work
After you’ve had at least a year’s worth of experience as a practicing nurse, you are now an eligible candidate for becoming a travel nurse! But, in order to get an edge over other candidates, there are some additional things that you can do to make yourself stand out more and make you more in demand. The first thing is the more facilities you have worked in the more appealing you are! Travel nurses must adapt quickly to new hospitals, medical facilities, and environments, so if you can show that you are capable of that then your travel nurse resume will stand out even more! A great way to do this without hopping from job to job is to regularly take advantage of professional development opportunities and resources.
Another great way to stand out is to volunteer. Consider devoting your spare time to assisting underprivileged areas. This can be anything from exploring local opportunities or even traveling abroad and will help the healthcare industry combat nurse burnout. Both of these will help you gain valuable experience and show potential employers/facilities that you are capable of working with people from different backgrounds.
5. Find a Travel Nursing Agency
Hopefully, by now this is the easiest step! After you’ve acquired your degree, license, and have a good deal of onsite experience, it is time to find your first job as a travel nurse! To make that happen, you’ll want to find a company that offers you the benefits you want, access to plenty of jobs, and a recruiter you can trust. Here at Alegiant Healthcare, staff members are devoted to supporting and assisting you to reach your career and travel goals! We have great connections with hospitals and healthcare facilities nationwide. We help our travelers find great travel nursing opportunities according to their desired location and specialty! Our recruiters focus on building a genuine relationship with each of their travelers.
The path to travel nursing is not a short and easy one. But it is certainly gratifying, and it’s a great way to ensure that you’re in a profession that is always in demand, wherever your work may take you! Visit our jobs page or call us today to find your next travel assignment!