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Most people dream of having a job that pays well while allowing them to travel around the country, or even the world, something that can be achieved through being a travel nurse. These professionals are often tasked with filling in for other nurses who are on sick leave, maternity leave or otherwise absent for personal reasons. Travel nurses are also come in handy in the event of staff shortage or large emergencies. To become a travel nurse, you must qualify to be a registered nurse; while your job will largely depend on your acquired specialties, your roles will be significantly similar to those of an RN. The main difference is that your job will entail a lot of traveling.

While operating from outside the country is also a viable option, you will find that travel nurses earn optimally while working within the country. This job is often accompanied by numerous and fantastic benefits, coupled with earning invaluable professional experience. Perhaps you are wondering how you can become a travel nurse, well, read on.

Step 1-Education

Like mentioned earlier, becoming a travel nurse entails qualifying to be an RN, which can be achieved in 3 different ways:

  • Attending a hospital-based nursing school for four years.
  • Taking an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) for two years. Studying for a further one or two years will earn you a Bachelor’s degree.
  • Acquiring a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN), which takes four years to complete.

Making a decision on whether to take BSN or ADN could be tricky; there are numerous variables to be considered when choosing a nursing degree program. You could, however, use some invaluable insights provided by an article from the Marian University to make an informed decision.

Step 2-Passing the N-CLESX Exam

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing requires individuals aspiring to have a nursing career to hold a Bachelor’s degree as a bare minimum. Becoming an RN will further necessitate passing the N-CLEX exam, after which you can initiate your specialization, including such fields as pediatrics and cardiac care. Subsequently, you may choose to get a Master’s Degree that will officially make you an MSN nurse.

Step 3-Obtaining the Requisite Experience

The best part of hospitals in the US will require you to have a bare minimum of 1 year of recent nursing experience in your applied specialty. This excludes instances when the labor market is slack, in which case you will be required to have a nursing experience for a minimum of 2 years. Landing your first job is largely dependent on the specialty you choose. Thus, you should be careful when applying for your nursing education. Some of the most demanded specialties for traveler nurses include L$D, PACU, PEDS, Cath Lab, CVICU, ICU, MS, ER, TELE, OR, NICU, CVOR, Mother Baby, Case Management and Home health among others.

If you are capable of relocating for your first job, you will want to try and apply for work in a Compact State; that is if you don’t already reside in one. This will give you a job advantage as states participating in the NLC (Nursing Licensure Compact) will often recognize and prioritize licenses from other member states. If you get a compact permit from one of the 24 participating states, you will stand to benefit immensely from the job market because the majority of hospitals will require you to produce verification of a valid state nursing license before accepting you for consideration.

Step 4-Establishing a Method of Maintaining a Tax Home

Becoming a travel nurse will allow you access to tax-free compensation that is almost always included in the travel pay packages. You will, however, need to qualify to receive tax-free money, failure to which declaring your all tax-free compensation on your yearly tax return while paying income taxes on it will become compulsory. Qualifying for tax-free reimbursements basically entails maintaining a legitimate tax-home.

Step 5-Get your Paperwork Together

It is imperative that make prior arrangements when it comes to your documentation, particularly your certification and licenses. No hospital will entertain a candidate without the required paperwork at the outset. You will also want to prepare your recently acquired medical records. While your agency will often coordinate and cover the expenses for your medical records, maintaining your own set of documents is in your best interest. This will help you in landing your most desired job in the ever so volatile nursing job market.

Step 6-Securing an Assignment

This involves getting your profile submitted for jobs, as well as getting job interviews and signing contracts. While the terms of contract and compensation are negotiable, navigating the complex pay package is not always a walk in the park. You may, however, negotiate a great deal with the help of a good travel nursing agency.

Some of the most viable approaches for finding a reputable agency include referring to rating services, in which travel nurses rate previous agencies with which they have worked. Such services include the Travel Nursing Central and Highway Hypodermics among others. You could also employ colleague referral; this entails inquiring from your associates about agencies or recruiters with which they have had good experiences.

Becoming a travel nurse essentially requires incredible flexibility as you will be working in variable settings all over the country. You will also need amazing communication skills because you will not only be required comprehend the medical requirements of your patients, but also their social needs. Being able to pay keen attention to details while having fantastic analytical skills will be an added advantage. And since travel nurses operate internationally, you will want to have vast knowledge on the local language and culture of your designated work area.