1. will agencies accept my prior lpn experience or must i gain some experience as a rn before i accept a travel rn position?
travel companies want years experience as an rn. not lpn/lvn. the reason is that lpn scope of practice varies quite a bit from state to state. only the rn will count as experience.
just a side note- it really is in your best interest to become very comfortable with your job in any area of nursing before you travel. facilities want a competent nurse to hit the floor running with just 1 or 2 days orientation. that's different computer systems, methods of charting, protocols and so on. it's pretty demanding and i wouldn't want you to get into a bad situation. you have got to know your stuff...
2. what happens if i dont complete my contract?
a contract is a two way street.
if you obligate yourself to a contract it is to guarantee that facility 36/40-hrs a week for the time requested. to walk out on a contract could obligate you for time and/or money. it's expensive to bring you in to work. they want a return on their investment. it can be really costly for you.
same thing happens with travelers being canceled because of financial concerns or if they overbook an assignment. kaiser is notorious for this and they go out of their way to dismiss you. if i travel, i'm looking @ 8 to 13 weeks and hold the facility to their end of the bargain. it can get ugly that way but if i choose one assignment over another i let them know that i can get stuck without any assignment at all.
3. when i apply for a license in another state, does it make my current license invalid? will i have to reapply for a license when i come back home?
unlike your drivers license whenever you pass boards and are licensed in a state you retain that states licensure. you keep it until you let it expire or for some reason fail to meet renewal requirements.
applications to other states is done by endorsement since you have already passed the examination for registry. what you are seeking is another state to reciprocate and endorse you to practice in their state. because most all nursing programs
meet/exceed all state standards "reciprocity" is just a formality for the state board to collect fees. it's all about the money. most recently, if you live in a "compact state" you are extended endorcements among several states without additional fees.
it's up to you to keep up on all licenses and requirements for renewal. many state will have you complete a number c.e.u. credits before renewal.