Take Your Education on the Road


By Megan M. Krischke, contributor

Health care is an ever-developing field, which means that nurses need to continue learning throughout their career. Travel nursing is one great way to do that, because it allows nurses to experience philosophies and methodologies used at different hospitals and practice alongside new co-workers.

Traveling can also be a great time to pursue formal education. Online education opportunities abound, and time away from your normal routines, relationships and commitments while on assignment can create an ideal situation to focus on academics.

“There are so many new positions that will enable nurses to go further in their career, but they will need to increase their education,” began Nadine Salmon, MSN, BSN, IBCLC, clinical content specialist for, an AMN Healthcare company and leading provider of ANCC-approved continuing education (CE) courses. “Additionally, there is a move by the American Nurses Association (ANA) to increase the minimum education requirement for RNs to the baccalaureate level, which means many nurses need to think seriously about pursuing a BSN.”

“Just like any nurse, travel nurses need to find an education program flexible enough to fit their schedule. Education is critical for nurses who want to take on roles with increased responsibility or in more specialized areas of care,” added Clark Crowell, MSM, vice president of education solutions for The College Network, based in Indianapolis.

“If you want to stay on top of your practice and ensure quality patient care,” he continued, “both shorter-term educational opportunities, such as continuing education and certificate programs, and longer-term degree programs really position nurses to succeed in their career well into the future.”

With, nurses can gain access to more than 150 ANCC-approved CE courses for a small annual fee, including many state mandated courses; travel nurses who work with any of the company’s staffing partners are eligible for receive unlimited access to the courses without charge. also offers Commission on Case Manager Certification (CCMC)-approved courses and pharmacology courses for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs).

“At, we work with our travel staffing partners to identify and meet traveler needs and to keep the travelers as current as possible. We have recently developed a course on interpreting heart blocks and are in the process of developing another on the appropriate use of social media,” explained Salmon. “We endeavor to make our courses as interactive as possible and we always offer two or three courses each month which can be taken free of charge so that nurses can experience our classes before committing to our service.”

The College Network offers a variety of online education options to meet nurses’ needs, starting with NCLEX exam preparation. Additionally, they have five ANCC-approved CE courses and offer degree completion programs for LPN/LVN to BSN, RN to BSN, an MSN and an RN to MSN bridge program that allows RNs to complete both a BSN and an MSN with less course work than completing them separately. Other health care related degrees include health information management, health care administration and health care management.

“One of the things that makes The College Network unique is that when students start with their prerequisites and general education requirements, they can do them entirely at their own pace,” remarked Crowell. “This allows people a gentle transition back into academia and a gives them a chance to start figuring out how to add course work into their lives. They may start with just an hour a week, and then build up until they have the 8 to 10 hours a week they will need when they start their courses with one of our university partners.”

Some online degree programs require practicums while others do not. In general, arranging a practicum while on a travel assignment should not present a problem. Nurses must be licensed in the state in which they are doing their practicum, but since travelers must clear state licensing requirements before assignments, that shouldn’t be a factor.

There are many accredited schools that offer extensive online programs for nurses looking to advance their education, including Grand Canyon University (GCU), in Phoenix, Ariz., and Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Georgetown, for instance, offers master’s level degrees for nurses interested in becoming clinical nurse specialists, nurse practitioners and nurse educators. GCU offers a BSN for nurses who have already received their diploma or associate’s degree. They also offer master’s degrees focusing on leadership, education, informatics or public health.

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