Travel nursing emerged as a specialty during the 1980s to help fill the demand for qualified nurses. With current nursing shortages, travel nurses continue to be in high demand. There are a number of benefits to becoming a travel nurse, including flexible schedules, good pay and the chance to visit new locations. To become a travel nurse, you will likely need a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. The Colorado Mesa University’s flexible, online Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) program can help prepare you to excel in this in-demand nursing specialty.
What Is Travel Nursing?
According to American Nurse Today, a travel nurse works on a temporary basis at hospitals and healthcare facilities across the nation to fill staffing shortages, help with unique staffing needs and maintain adequate staffing ratios. Because the nursing shortage is expected to continue and even strengthen, travel nurses will continue to be in high demand.
If you are interested in travel nursing, you can try to find your own job, or American Nurse Today suggests going through a travel nurse agency. There is a difference between traditional nurse staffing agencies and travel nurse agencies. Traditional nurse staffing agencies are typically based locally and assign nurses to work for a few days. In contrast, travel nurses work at the same facility for an average of 13 weeks and are assigned to fill more specific needs, such as sick leaves, vacations or maternity leaves.
Reasons to Become a Travel Nurse
One of the most obvious benefits is the flexibility in scheduling — you can choose when you want to work. This is especially helpful if you have other obligations or would like to take personal time off.
In addition, travel nursing positions tend to pay well and offer attractive benefits, some of which may include paid tuition, retirement, and health and dental benefits. They may also offer free housing, potentially saving you thousands of dollars each year.
Another benefit of travel nursing is choice of where to work. If you are tired of the cold and snow or just looking for a change, travel nursing offers that option. It is also an opportunity to try out places you may be considering for relocation.
What You Need to Become a Travel Nurse
Most travel nurses, according to American Nurse Today, have BSNs or advanced nursing degrees, which is important if you want to take on roles in leadership and management.
In an AACN survey, 79.6 percent of healthcare facilities surveyed said they strongly prefer to hire nurses with a BSN, while 45.1 percent required it. The requirements, criteria and expectations are the same for travel nurses as they are for non-traveling nurses.
If you are considering earning your BSN, Colorado Mesa University (CMU) offers a flexible and affordable online RN to BSN program. Designed for working students, the program will help give you the foundation needed to take on exciting new roles in today’s changing healthcare landscape — including as a travel nurse.
Beyond the BSN, TravelNursing.org also suggests becoming certified in American Heart Association CPR/AED and basic life support (BLS). And depending on your nursing specialty, you may need additional certification.
Travel nursing offers unparalleled opportunities for nurses to explore new regions and healthcare facilities and also to meet new people. It provides greater flexibility in work scheduling, which is a great perk if you have other obligations or do not like to be tied down to one job for a long period of time. The pay is typically higher than you would find in traditional settings and often offers paid housing and a myriad of other benefits including paid health insurance and tuition reimbursement.
To qualify as a travel nurse, you’ll most likely need a BSN degree, especially if you want to pursue leadership and management roles. The online RN to BSN program at CMU can prepare you to take on these exciting roles as a travel nurse.
Learn more about the CMU online RN to BSN program.
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