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Travel Nursing

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Specializes in Peds, Med-Surg, Disaster Nsg, Parish Nsg.

How can I become a Travel Nurse?

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.

Travel Nursing

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 Registered Nurses (RN) 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.

COVID-19 Pandemic

Currently (November 2020), due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, hospitals are in dire need of nurses in many U.S. states that have been declared a state of emergency. Due to this overwhelming need, some U.S. states are waiving requirements involving RN licensure as well as requesting that retired RNs return to the workforce. 

Duties and Responsibilities

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.

Work Environment

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

  • Graduate from an accredited RN nursing program
  • Degree: Diploma, ADN, BSN, or higher
  • Successfully pass NCLEX-RN
  • Current, unencumbered RN license in U.S. 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

  • Flexible and able to work in various locations and work settings
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Detail oriented
  • Strong support system
  • Rapidly adapt to change
  • Enjoys a challenge
  • Rapid assessment skills
  • If involved in international travel, should be able to speak or have a knowledge of the local language

Salary (2020)

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. Since travel nurses are often hired for critical needs, they often earn significantly more than the average salary.

According to indeed, the average weekly salary for a U.S. travel nurse is $1,725 with $13,750 overtime per year.

In some areas, however, nurses have the potential to earn $3,000/week.

Currently (October 2020), due to the COVID-10 Pandemic, nurses are often seeing salary packages of over $10,000 per week or $100,000 for 13-week assignments.

Factors Which Can Affect Salary (not all-inclusive)

  • Assignment location
    • Vacation locations
      • more appealing and competitive
      • applicants are willing to work for less
    • Less desirable locations
      • pay significantly more because of smaller, less permanent workforce
      • pay significantly more because of the need to remain competitive
  • Demand for the position
  • Local cost of living
  • Type of nursing specialty being sought
  • Level of experience
  • Recruiting Agency

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.

Other Benefits (not all-inclusive)

  • Free housing
  • Medical coverage
  • Dental coverage
  • Meal subsidies
  • Travel reimbursement
  • Non-taxed stipends
  • Retirement plans
Travel Nurse Pay and Salary told by an EX- Travel Nurse Recruiter


PanTravelers (PAN) - The Professional Association of Nurse Travelers is a non-profit national organization representing nurse travelers in the United States.

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