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What Does a Traveling Nurse do? How Much Money Does a Traveling Nurse Make? Why Become a Traveling Nurse? Pro’s and Con’s of Being a Traveling Nurse? Traveling Nurse Quotes

Some nurses have worked for several years within the four walls of just one or two health care facilities ever since they received their licenses. Though it has come to be a comfortable career, some feel that they need to go out of their routine and explore while not giving up their passion.

Being a Traveling Nurse can be one of the many options especially for those nurses who like to travel. But how to become a traveling nurse?

The very basic requirement is for you to at least have an associate degree in nursing and has graduated from an accredited professional program for health care in the respective country you want to work. Some nurses like to climb the ranks within a hospital by getting a master of nursing degree while others prefer to move around.

Work experience in nursing will usually depend on the agency you will be employed. There are agencies that accept few months of experience on a nursing specialty area on a certain unit in a specific facility. But in most cases, the average number of experience required by several agencies is 18 months to a maximum of 2 years. It actually depends on which facility you will be assigned. It would be wise, therefore, to have enough experience in Medical-Surgical Nursing, or Psychiatric Nursing, or Rehabilitative Nursing, since these are areas in nursing where it is mostly needed in the field.

Aside from excellent nursing clinical skills, a traveling nurse must also have that flexible attitude, considering that your work environment varies most of the time. One must also have that open-minded attitude and can quickly learn any instructions. As the title of the position suggest, a traveling nurse must have that enthusiasm for different kinds of adventures.

Lastly, the most important ability to have is good communication skills; not only will you be communicating with your patient, you will also be transmitting messages to his primary care provider, as well as the patient’s family, and you will be documenting all the procedures you have completed for legal purposes.

What does a Traveling Nurse do?

Knowing what a traveling nurse does can help you learn how to become one. Traveling nurses’ jobs depend on where they are assigned. Recruiting agencies will usually assess you depending on your qualifications. They help you come up with a list of prospective assignments with corresponding pay-scales. If you have chosen an assignment, the recruiting agency will prepare you for an interview with the health care facility assigned to you. When you are accepted in the job, the recruiting agency will assist you in the arrangement of your housing accommodations.

A traveling nurse has the same clinical skills required as other nurses. They assist in the treatment of the patients by explaining further to the patient his medical condition and acting as a support system for other members of the families. A travel nurse must have the skill to record the patient’s medical history, assessing the different signs and symptoms, performing the required diagnostic procedures and interpreting the result I order to relay to the physician. Moreover, the traveling nurse provides health teaching to the patients; teaching them about their medication regiment, their proper diet and the various physical exercises they need to perform.

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How much money does a Traveling Nurse Make?

The published average annual salary rate of a traveling nurse is at $79,000 in 2009. But the reality will always depend on the following:

  • the facility you are assigned
  • the location of our job (such as the state or county)
  • the nursing specialty you already possess

Some agencies offer as much as 15 percent more in every paycheck a traveling nurse receives, so that their travel expenses are maximized and will enable the nurses to take home with higher pay rates. But it is not all about the paycheck. Other agencies offer nurses opportunity to acquire continuing education at a lesser cost. Most agencies also add benefits to what the traveling nurses receive, such as the 401(k) programs and health care coverage that includes medical and dental insurances. Additionally, there are incentive programs given to traveling nurses, such as referral bonuses, tenure bonus and a sign-in bonus. Travel reimbursements are also provided by companies and they are not subjected to tax; travel reimbursements depend on the mileage travelled by the nurse, with average of 30 cents per mile traveled these days.

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Why become a Traveling Nurse?

So now you are clear on how to become a traveling nurse, why would you want to?

A survey released by a large healthcare staffing agency has shown that 70 percent of the approximately 4,000 nurse executives are having a hard time recruiting nurses for permanent positions. Because of this, the health care facilities opted to hire traveling nurses who can actually work for 13 weeks at the hospital, locally or internationally. If you want to spend your days skiing or sunbathing while trying to earn a living, travel nursing is for you. There is high demand of this career option nowadays, especially when nursing by itself is a stressful job. Traveling takes you to new places, while nursing lets you do in your career.

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Pro’s and Con’s of being a Traveling Nurse

There will always be advantages and disadvantages in every type of jobs we undertake. Working as a traveling nurse, you should always expect both good things and bad things in the job.


One of the best reasons you wanted to choose traveling nurse as a career is that

  • You are always away from the politics of the workplace, especially in hospital facilities.
  • Working vacation is happening all the time also because you are constantly assigned to different places.
  • Because you are working away from your base, you are always given more benefits compared to those who work near the health care facilities.
  • Since you will be assigned to different health care facilities regularly, you will get the chance to learn many things, and this will add to your resume.


However, there are disadvantages when you become a traveling nurse.

  • There is lower chance for you to have advancement in your nursing career since the health care facilities seldom find the opportunity to commit to you considering your lack of presence in the facility.
  • If you are the type of person who likes to work with common faces friends, being a traveling nurse can be a lonely job.

There are more pros and cons but the best thing about all of these is the personal satisfaction you get from fulfilling both your passion and your career.

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Traveling Nurse Quotes

Are you considering to become a Traveling Nurse now? Here are more quotes to convince you.

“My life is different now than before I started traveling, which has forced me to get organized.I also used to be quiet and sort of shy.Now I don’t have any trouble talking topeople. You have to get out and talk topeople when you’re traveling.” – T.T., CST

“I learned that all assignments will have faults and the outcome would depend on my attitude. I came away from that first assignment with 18 of the dearest friends of my life, a beautiful figure from the weightloss, and a healthy bank account from the overtime pay. But most of all, I gained insight about the travel nursing industry and the benefit of negotiating contracts.” – D.C., CRNA

“It really opens your eyes. “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” This anonymous quote reminds me of traveling because it does take a lot of courage.” – M.W., RN

“Traveling is fun because you get to see everything and you don’t have to pay for it yourself. The only disadvantage is that you’re often sent to areas that have low staffing. I’ve known travelers who have had bad experiences, but most of those had to do with personality conflicts.” – B.S., CST

“Travel nursing appeals to the gypsy in me. It feeds my independence. I’m a free spiritand like to try different things and meet different people. To be a good traveling nurse,you have to be a people person. You alsomust be flexible and know how to handle new situations and fit into existing groups. You have to go with the flow. I think all nurses should try traveling if they can.” –P.M. RN

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