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What Does a Travel Nurse Do?

BSN-prepared nurses can choose to work in a wide variety of nursing specialties. Travel nursing is a popular choice for nurses looking for adventure, or even just a change of scenery. These nurses can work anywhere in the United States or across the globe. If you crave constant change and do not mind moving, a job as a travel nurse may be a good fit for you.

What Is Travel Nursing?

The field of travel nursing was established to combat nurse shortages that were happening throughout the country. A deficit of nurses is still present in many regions. These are the top five travel nursing specialties:

  • Emergency Room
  • Medical Surgical/Telemetry
  • Women’s Health (NICU/MBPP/L&D)
  • Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
  • Operating Room (OR)

What Is the Role of a Travel Nurse?

Travel nurses provide care to patients the same way permanent staff nurses do. They are assigned to temporary positions at healthcare organizations to fill voids in staffing. The nurses are employed by staffing agencies rather than a healthcare facility, which is why they can go anywhere they are needed.

Typically, the duration for a nurse to work at a facility is 13 to 26 weeks, but there is a possibility that their contract can be shortened, extended or renewed. This can occur when the employer, agency and nurse agree to the terms. Once a travel nurse’s contract is over, he or she can move on to another nursing job.

Where Can You Work As a Travel Nurse?

You can decide where you want to seek a job based on your preferences and the demand for nurses. However, some specialties are more in demand than others. RNs can work in a variety of settings such as:

  • Acute care centers
  • Clinics
  • Hospitals
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Private practices

What Type of Person Makes a Good Travel Nurse?

To succeed as a travel nurse, RNs should exhibit these traits:

  • Enjoy traveling to unknown places.
  • Adapt to new organizational systems and workflows quickly.
  • Embrace challenges such as living in unfamiliar or dangerous places.
  • Like meeting new people.
  • Want the freedom of a flexible schedule and the ability to change where they work on a regular basis.
  • Love to keep learning, because as a travel nurse, you may encounter cutting-edge technology or different standards of practice.

Why Do Healthcare Organizations Hire Travel Nurses?

Hiring travel nurses can save healthcare organizations money because they only pay a salary, while the staffing agency is responsible for employee benefits. Many times, agencies also will offer a housing stipend and pay traveling costs.

What Is the Salary for a Travel Nurse?

The average annual salary for a travel nurse is $65,995, according to PayScale (February 2019).

A travel nurse with a BSN will have more job opportunities. If you do not have a BSN, you may want to consider an online RN to BSN program. It is a convenient and affordable way for working RNs to complete a BSN. As a travel nurse you can work in the nursing profession and fulfill your desire for adventure. So, if you are ready to head to the beach, hike in the mountains, relax in the country or just check out a new city, you should look into a career as a travel nurse.

Learn about EIU’s online RN to BSN program.


PayScale: Average Travel Nurse (RN) Hourly Pay Why Is Everyone Packing Up and Becoming a Travel Nurse?

Chron: Why Are Hospitals Hiring Traveling Nurses? How to Become a Travel Nurse

BlueForce Healthcare Staffing: The Best Travel Nursing Specialties in 2019 What Is a Travel Nurse?

Aya Healthcare: Travel Nursing What Is a Travel Nurse? What Is a Travel Nurse?

Tailored Healthcare Staffing: Why Do Hospitals Use Travel Nurses?

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