Travel Nurses In High Demand
If you’re looking for a career that is physically and emotionally challenging, but immensely rewarding for the heart, nursing might be the option for you.
While nursing previously may have been more geographically restrictive, registered nurses, albeit with some more specific qualifications, can now opt for a variety of positions both domestically and internationally. Whether to explore a new specialty or a new environment, careers in travel nursing are on the rise.
Travel Nursing Opportunities
Professions in nursing are in high demand with an expected increase of 16% from 2014 to 2024 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), thereby creating a unique opportunity for these travel nurses. This spike can be attributed to aging baby boomers, changes in healthcare, and technological advancements and dependencies. Nurses, willing to travel and take up a contract positions ranging from a few months to over a year, have plenty of options.
Training for these nurses varies considerably. Some nurses cater to specific emergencies and work for international organizations such as the Red Cross. Others perform roles related to patient care or support make-shift clinics. Nurses with general experience can typically fill most open positions, and frequently travel wherever required. There are also those who specialize in critical care.
To become a travel nurse, one must first obtain his or her nursing degree or associate’s degree. As with all professions, graduate degrees mean greater job prospects. Nurses are then required to clear the NCLEX-RN nursing credentials exam. Furthermore, as different states have different requirements, candidates obtain the Nurse Licensure Contract and ensure credentials are always up to date to freely travel for domestic employment.
Nurses are encouraged to connect with local chapters of national or international nursing organizations to seek vacant positions and to visit sites such as TravelNursing.org. A travel nurse’s career consist of 1-3 year contract positions and generates an income ranging from $68k to just over $100k. Factors affecting the position and salary include level of education, years and breadth of experience, specialty etc.
International Nursing Opportunities
For nurses interested in international opportunities, there are some added considerations to keep in mind. In additional to finding the job, nurses must obtain work visas, which are generally provided by the sponsoring organization. The International Council of Nurses can also provide much needed guidance when searching for opportunities, which can include building on an existing skill, or promoting urgent healthcare issues such as women’s health, neonatal health, vaccinations etc. Finally, networking with friends and colleagues provides a wealth of information that can help pave the path by providing insight into great opportunities, but also support in terms of housing and other benefits.
In addition to a longer processing time (around 6 months), international positions have a wider pay range depending on the position, duration and of course the nurse’s credentials. Interested applicants can contact established travel nurses or licensing bodies in their destination of choice.
If global healthcare is the career of choice, international nursing may be the stepping stone. Affiliations with international organizations such as The World Bank and the World Health Organization enable travel nurses to connect with global professionals, and pursue their goals of improving access to and support of healthcare worldwide.
A career in travel nursing does comes with challenges. Long hours, being away from loved ones and possibly dire circumstances can take their toll. But, the contribution to society and the opportunities to meet with and impact so many lives in unparalleled. As such, a key quality for all nurses are the soft skills and bedside mannerisms that differentiate a nurse from a great nurse. Travel nurses must also flourish in change and adapt well to their new environments. They must remain strong, positive and patient in their resilience and continued service to humanity.