Travel nursing offers the RN an opportunity to see the world while working at various hospitals in need of additional nurses. The generous salary, bonuses, and benefits make this an attractive nursing option, particularly for those who are single and without children.
The concept of travel nursing began as a solution to provide additional nurses to areas/hospitals experiencing a nursing shortage. Over the years this has become a very popular option for those wanting to change locations and assignments regularly and have the benefit of vacationing where they work.
Travel nurses are RNs who travel to other parts of the country where there are not enough trained nurses to handle the workload. They work temporary assignments in one location lasting 8 to 26 weeks, although 13 weeks is the typical length of assignment. Travel nurses have experience in various fields and specialties.
The duties and responsibilities of a travel nurse vary depending on the nurse's specialty and the assignment location. The travel nurse will generally perform the same duties as the permanent staff nurses with whom she/he works.
Travel nurses work at hospitals across the country with the permanent staff RNs, under the same supervisors and charge nurses, and often with other travel nurses. They frequently make friends with other travel nurses with whom they may work other assignments.
Depending on the hospital's needs, travel nurses may work part-time or full-time, and may work various shifts. They can also earn extra income by working per diem shifts at their assigned hospital or at other hospitals in the area.
Education / Work Requirements
Must be an RN with licensure in the state of employment.
Minimum of 18 months of clinical experience with 1 year preferred in one's specialty
Other requirements as determined by each individual facility
Recommended Skills and Qualities
Travel nurses need to be flexible and able to work in various locations and work setting. Excellent communication skills are a must. Travel nurses should be detail oriented and possess analytical skills. If they are involved in international travel, they should be able to speak or have a knowledge of the local language.
The salary for travel nurses is one of the things that makes travel nursing such a popular option as salaries for travel nurses are generally higher than those of permanent hospital nurses. In 2010, the average salary for RN travel nurses was $64,690 with the top 10% earning more that $95,130. Since travel nurses are often hired for critical needs, the often earn significantly more than the average salary.
Factors which can affect the salary are:
- assignment location - Vacation locations often more appealing and competitive. Therefore applicants are willing to work for less. Less desirable locations pay significantly more because of a smaller, less permanent workforce and the need to remain competitive.
- demand for the position
- local cost of living
- type of nursing specialty being sought
- level of experience
In addition to regular base pay, many agencies offer various types of bonuses in order to remain competitive. Such bonuses may include loyalty bonuses and referral bonuses.
They also have benefits which often include housing, medical and/or dental coverage, meal subsidies, travel reimbursement, and other perks. Many times they are guaranteed a minimum number of hours for every assignment.
Professional Association of Nurse Travelers (PAN) -the non-profit national organization representing nurse travelers in the United States.
Travel Nurse Salary Information
Travel Nurse Toolbox
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About tnbutterfly, BSN, RN
tnbutterfly has been in nursing for more than 30 years, with experience in med-surg, pediatrics, psychiatrics, and disaster nursing. She is currently a parish nurse.....a position which she has had for the past 15 years.
tnbutterfly has 'More than 35 years' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'Parish Nsg, Disaster Nsg, Peds, Med-Surg'. From 'TN'; Joined Jun '06; Posts: 22,365; Likes: 13,154.