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CHOOSING A TRAVEL NURSING ASSIGNMENT

The reason why you have decided to try travel nursing will also be the reason you might choose one nursing assignment over another. Are you in it for more money; have you set a financial goal that you are trying to achieve? or, are you in it for the experience, to travel and see new places you might never have the chance to see? or, are you somewhere in the middle of the two?

The next factor to consider- where are you licensed to practice nursing? If you reside in a "compact state" you are able to practice nursing in other compact states, on a temporary basis using the nursing license from your home state--no need to get another license to travel & work in those states, 24 in all. Click here to view a map of the nursing compact states. There are a few states considered "walk throughs"- you can get your nursing license at the state board of nursing office, over the counter, providing you have everything necessary to apply for a permanent license (including the money). Hawaii, District of Columbia, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Vermont are all walk through states, but call the nursing board to verify what exactly is needed at the time you apply. The other states are all different- taking anywhere from 10 days to issue a temporary nursing license to 8 weeks or more to be licensed. 

Location, location, location....consider the weather & the city. Check the statistics for such important things as weather and crime at City-data. This is important if you are going somewhere to see the area-- is it snowing? rainy season? too crowded? too much crime?

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Timing is something to think about, consider the fact that most nursing assignments are for 13 weeks - when are you planning to travel? Will it run through the holidays or another time of the year that would make it difficult or unpleasant to be away from home? Summer vacations? School? Hospital orientation schedules usually start on Mondays (the 1st & 3rd Mondays of the month are popular). By adjusting your start date a week or two earlier or later can make a big difference if you want the holidays or some other special time off.

Finally, how will you be traveling? Driving takes longer but allows you to take more stuff, & is easier if you are traveling with a pet- but requires parking which is difficult to find and expensive in some major cities & out of the question if traveling to the islands, overseas, or the outlying areas of Alaska, for instance. If the destination you have in mind is not "car-friendly"- consider flying or taking a train, even a cruise, why we know some travel nurses who travel in their RV or pull their camper- making arrangements to stay close to your facility or utilize public transportation are part of the travel nurse experience, but should be considered in advance when choosing a travel nursing assignment.

At this point, choosing an assignment destination involves making a list for yourself: 1) Motive- financial or travel; 2) Top destination choices (if your motive is financial- this is a no-brainer- it's wherever they are paying the most); 3) Where are you licensed, what nursing license might you need & how long will that take?; 4) When can you start? (remember to consider your holidays, etc); 5) Travel arrangements- transportation that is available, necessary, or possible. Now with the help of your recruiters- narrow down the possibilities, apply for some travel nursing positions then continue on in the How-To Guide - Interview Tips ----------->