Travel nursing career allows nurses to work in research facilities, in hospitals, nursing homes, in schools and even as staff members in cruise ships. Travel nurses have to travel to any part of the country to replace any temporary shortage of nursing staff. The job of these nurses includes multi-tasking. A quick example: if general staff nurse is on vacation, a travel nurse will temporarily handle the work. Generally, travel nurses perform jobs such as monitoring vital signs of the critical patients, obtaining the blood pressure and caring for patients affected by a natural disaster. Furthermore, travel nurses can temporarily replace some specialized field of nursing such as psychiatry, oncology, nephrology and some others. Therefore, a travel nurse can earn higher wages and are mostly hired by multiple or specialized agencies.
- Travel Nursing Education and Registration
- Finding a Travel Nursing Position
- Benefits of Working as a Travel Nurse
- Travel Nurse Salary
- Becoming an International Travel Nurse
To be a travel nurse, you must attend a nursing school and earn at least a degree as an RN (Registered Nurse). Becoming an RN is more competitive and the process may take around 2 to 4 years depending on the program and the area of study. After you have obtained the credentials, you must pass NCLEX-RN exam and also work for at least 1 year in a hospital setting and in the specialty you wish to practice.
Nurses working in all facilities should have at least an ASN degree and depending on the specialty, nurses work in PALS, ACL, NIH stroke scale and some other certifications may also be necessary. Having a certification in your specialty is important. Furthermore, most agencies also require their nurses to have specific and physical immunizations and their current TB test before starting any assignment.
Finding a job as a travelling nurse is the easiest part due to the demand for travel nurses which is always high. To get a job, you will need to register with staffing agencies which will provide you with many job opportunities. And because travelling nurses get some added benefits such as travelling, healthcare, housing reimbursement, you will have to select where you would like to work and then compare offers and interviews and then determine which job offer is the best. Mostly, travel nursing assignments last for 13 weeks and if you don’t like the place or the job, then your commitment will be minimal. At the end of your assignment, a facility may offer you an extension but only if you like the location and the job.
Travel nursing has many benefits over the typical nursing. Some of these benefits include:
- Better salary
As a travel nurse, you are able to select where you want to work, the specialty you want to work in and for how long you would like to work. Generally, travel nurses earn much better than the other nurses and have all their housing and travelling expenses catered for. They also receive a full benefits package. Furthermore, most of the money they receive is usually tax-free since they travel more than 50 miles from their homes.
- Traveling to a new country
After becoming a travel nurse, you will enjoy the opportunity of travelling the country. By spending, at least, three months in every city, you will have an opportunity to meet friends, experience different foods, cultures and even entertainment. Moreover, you will expose yourself to various healthcare delivery systems and variations of newer professional experiences which will assist you in becoming an independent, experienced and more flexible nurse.
- More job opportunities
There are very many reasons why hospitals require travel nurses. One of these reasons is the difficulty to keep skilled nurses depending on the location of the city. They also hire these nurses to fill temporary positions usually left by nurses on leave, to cater for seasonal population increases, and primarily because there are inadequately qualified nurses in a city.
- Ability to build your skills
Possibly, you will work in some top facilities within the country. This allows a unique perspective in several places. Working alongside some top nurses and doctors will enable you to gain adequate experience which is only available through travel nurse job.
- Free housing
Most travel nursing companies offer tax-free housing stipend that allows quality housing near the working place.
There are many factors that determine the amount you are going to earn as a travel nurse. These factors include geographic location, specialized certification, your work experience, professional nursing qualifications and the working agency. Compared to the non-travelling nurses, travelling nurses earn more even though they earn more in the cities. And in addition to earning more, travel nurses have some added benefits from working agency which include travel insurance, dental insurance, and food accommodation facilities.
On average, the salary for the registered nurses is around $66,530 on an annual basis or $31.999 per every month. About 10% of the top category earns over $93,700 annually and the lowest 10% earn approximately $43,970 per year.
Travel Nurse Salary in the United States
The highly experienced travel nurses mostly earn around $40 per hour even though the beginners can earn a lower hourly wage of $30. Employment agencies often pay up to $8,000 per every contract usually based on length of each contract. Average hourly rate for registered nurses is usually around $30.85 and average nursing salary is usually $67,525 on an annual basis. Moreover, travel nurses earn 20% more than non-travel nurses and may also gain comprehensive salary benefits which include agency sponsored location, renewal bonus and utilities.
Annually, the registered nurses who receive the highest salary earn around $90,000 while the lowest paid nurse earns below $44,000. On top of that, the median salary of registered nurses is usually $33.99 per every hour worked. And around 10% of the nurses receive over $45.05 per every hour while the nurses in the lowest category receive below $21.14 per every hour. There are agencies that offer attractive bonuses for nurses to complete the contract or to sign on. In such situations, these bonuses may be approximately $5,000.
Travel Nurse Salary in the UK
In the UK, beginners earn around $17,000 and this salary increases by up to $30,000.
Travel Nurse Salary in Australia
In Australia, the salary of re-entry nurses ranges between $52,092 and $70,091 per year while hourly wages range between $26.27 and $35.35. The salary of clinical nurses ranges between $71,297 and $76,376 per year while the hourly range for this category range between $35.95 and $38.51.
Nurses are needed all over the world. While you may have traveled to many states, you may not have considered the many travel nursing opportunities around the world. It may be daunting to relocate to another country even when it’s temporarily, but nursing abroad provides special experiences which make it ideal. Before obtaining a passport and beginning to pack your bags, there are a few things you should consider:
- The sense of adventure in international travel nursing.
The lure of the international traveling nurses opportunities does not necessarily lay on the end of higher pay. Generally, travel nurse jobs abroad pay lesser amounts compared with what you expect in the United States. But what is more, enticing about these jobs is the change of locations and unique locals. If you are one of the people who possess a sense of adventure, or willingness to put themselves in unfamiliar territories, then international travel nurse jobs are a great choice.
Mostly, nursing opportunities abroad are usually assignments which run for longer periods of time than the task assignments in the United States. One benefit associated with them is that you will have sufficient time to experience new work environments and new customs. Leaving an assignment abroad can be tough before you have truly adapted and performed as a resident. Longer contract periods also mean that you will have more chances to explore all the neighboring areas. For example, when in the UK, exploring other parts in Europe that you have dreamed of will be easier. And to travel to such regions, you will not have to worry about language barriers.
- Preparation is important
Working abroad is not as simple as packing your bag and leaving. For you to be eligible to work in Australia or the UK, you must meet some requirements. To work in the UK, you will have to pass the English proficiency exam. At least, you will have to attain an overall 6.5 score on International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The other requirement is admission to Nursing Midwifery Council & Supervised Practice. To start working in the country, you may also need to provide some other learning requirements.
For you to work as a travel nurse in Australia you must take the country’s board examination and if you are a registered nurse, you will have to register with the Australia Boards of Nursing prior to starting your assignments. The nurses Board of Southern Australia or NBSA will also have to confirm your record in the country. The whole process may take 3 to 6 months. Moreover, you may have to get the temporary business visa — your travel nursing agency can handle the visa for you.
When selecting an agency, you should ensure that it is experienced in international placements – they will be able to guide you through the whole process.