Travel Nursing FAQs: 7 Things Nurses Want to Know
By the TravelNursing.com staff
Travel nursing has been around for more than three decades, but many nurses are still unfamiliar with how it works and what they need to do to get started. So TravelNursing.com has pulled together the answers to seven of the top travel nursing questions to help you be in the know.
For answers to even more questions about travel nursing, check out our Travel Nursing FAQs page.
1. Do travel nurses have to sign a long-term contract?
No. The contractual relationship between you and your travel nurse company is on an assignment-by-assignment basis. You have the flexibility to choose travel nursing jobs that suit your personal and professional goals. Individual assignment contracts can range from 4 weeks to 13 weeks or more, with 13 weeks being the most common.
2. How much experience do I need to become a travel nurse?
The minimum experience required to begin travel nursing depends on your area of specialty, the facility and sometimes even the location. Employers have different requirements and preferences, but the majority that work with our staffing partners request a minimum of 10 – 18 months of experience for RNs; recruiters can start working with you even sooner to get prepared, however. (There are limited opportunities for LPNs/LVNs to travel, but when available they normally require at least six years of experience.)
3. Do I need a new nursing license for each state where I want to work?
Each state has its own regulations regarding nurse licensure, and some states take longer to process licensing requests than others. If your original nursing license is from one of the 25 states that participate in the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), the transition to practice in a new compact state will be fairly simple. Otherwise, your travel nurse recruiter or a licensing specialist should work with you to ensure you obtain the required state licensing well before your start date.
4. How long will it take before I can begin my first travel nursing job?
The start time will really depend on you: what is your specialty, when do you want to start and where do you want to go? After your application has been processed, travel nursing companies could immediately present you as a candidate to hospitals, if you’re ready and willing. Some quick-start assignments could begin in a couple of weeks, but most would be a few weeks or months after you apply. Recruiters can help streamline the process of becoming licensed in another state, when required.
5. What type of housing can I expect on a travel nursing assignment?
Most travel nursing companies provide free housing (and free utilities), including our staffing partners. Their standard accommodations include a clean, private, fully-furnished apartment or condominium close to your assignment facility. The choices and amenities will vary depending on location, and pet-friendly housing can usually be arranged upon request. You can also opt to arrange your own housing and receive a monthly housing stipend instead. But don’t assume every company is the same; always ask recruiters to confirm exactly what their travel nursing agency offers.
6. What types of facilities can I work in as a travel nurse?
You can choose to work in a variety of settings, ranging from large academic medical centers to children’s hospitals, outpatient clinics, rural facilities and more. Travel nursing jobs can be found in ANCC Magnet hospitals and others that have been recognized as some of the best hospitals in the country. Based on your preferences, your recruiter will match you with the healthcare facilities that suit your needs.
7. Will travel nursing jobs look good on my résumé?
Yes. Working short-term, travel nursing assignments shows flexibility in your clinical practice and an ability to excel in different environments. You can also work with your recruiter to find jobs that expand your experience and build key skills, including jobs at prestigious facilities and opportunities to learn the latest medical technology.
Additional articles and resources:
7 Simple Steps to Get Started as a Travel Nurse
6 Tips for Day One of Your Travel Nursing Job – Ask the Expert Blog
3 Signs You May Be Ready to Take the "Leap" into Travel Nursing
Find current travel nursing jobs across the U.S.
Travel nursing pay and benefits
Apply to become a travel nurse
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