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WHAT IS TRAVEL NURSING?

Perhaps you have met a travel nurse, or you have heard about travel nursing from fellow nurses or employees...however you may have heard about it, you have decided to find out more about a career as a TRAVEL NURSE.

Nurses working as travel nurses, take temporary jobs at hospitals, home health agencies, hospices, dialysis clinics, outpatient surgery or cancer treatment facilities, medical clinics, rehabs & nursing homes throughout the world. Typically these jobs pay better per hour than full-time staff positions & include fully furnished private apartments (utilities included), travel expense reimbursement, health & life insurance benefits, license reimbursement, loyalty bonuses, & 401K savings plans.

Due to the nursing shortage, facilities are using "travelers" to fill nursing staff shortages throughout the world. A travel nurse assignment is typically 13 weeks in length, but can be anywhere from 4 weeks to a year. Some nurses travel all year, moving from one assignment to the next; others travel during certain seasons-fall & winter in one location, spring & summer in another. Many travel nurses find facilities that they like and simply return there in between other assignments or become permanent staff. Taking a travel nurse assignment is also a good way to find out if you will like living & working somewhere as a nurse, before moving there permanently.

What Is Travel Nursing?

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Some travel nurses travel alone, inviting friends & family to visit; some travel with spouses & children. Extra bedrooms for extended families is possible-the extra expense is usually payroll deductible.

Typically, housing is furnished & usually in apt complexes or condos close to the facility; they are usually gated communities with all the extras-like pools, clubhouses, & fitness centers. On shorter assignments or if preferred by the nurse, accomodations can be made in extended stay hotels- usually suites with room service & transportation to work provided.

Working as a travel nurse has it's good and bad points:

Travel nursing orientation is typically only three days of general orientation & 1-2 shifts with a preceptor on the floor. Travelers are always first to float. Benefits do not usually inlcude any sick or vacation days. Also, repeating TB testing, FIT testing, fingerprinting for licensure, & orientation 3-4 times a year can wear on your last nerve. 

Some of the advantages of working as a travel nurse include getting to travel to the most interesting places & top hospitals in the country (or the world, for that matter), making more money than you would as a staff nurse-- and lots of it is tax-free (covered in the next sections). Plus, hospital & staff politics are not a part of your life as a temporary employee. Time off in between assignments can add up to as much as 90 days a year & if you schedule your contract dates wisely, you will have most holidays off.

Now that you've decided that a travel nurse job might be right for you, you will need to get one! That requires a little homework... Continue on to the How-To Guide - Finding a Recruiter --->