What Is A Travel Nurse?

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Travel nurses are employed by healthcare staffing companies to fill temporary nursing positions at hospitals or facilities located away from their legal tax home. This career choice allows RNs to explore different parts of the country while still earning a good living.

Pros: Travel nursing offers many advantages over working full-time at one location; pay can also often be higher; plus there’s the flexibility of taking off time between contracts to visit friends and family.

Working Conditions

Travel nurses are healthcare professionals who take on short-term assignments at healthcare facilities across the United States and internationally, typically between 13 weeks to a year long, to fill temporary gaps in staffing levels.

Healthcare organizations employ travel nurses for temporary staffing needs, unexpected changes in patient volume or maternity leaves. Travel nurses can also gain experience working in new clinical environments before accepting permanent positions.

Travel nursing is a rewarding opportunity that allows one to see different parts of the country while developing new skills, but its frequent transitions and unpredictable nature may prove stressful at times. Anyone considering entering this profession should carefully assess whether its potential benefits outweigh potential challenges before making their decision.

Many travel nurses opt to work short-term contracts in order to take time off between assignments for personal reasons – visiting family, traveling or simply giving themselves a break from daily nursing duties. Although this isn’t required and multiple contracts may still be found.

Once a travel nurse signs their contract, it becomes a legal document which cannot be broken early unless their hospital or facility no longer needs them. While this can be frustrating if this occurs during holidays or at the end of a long assignment, typically their agency will work together with them to find alternative assignments.

Travel nurses should make an effort to prearrange their schedule requests with their assignment prior to beginning a contract in order to maximize the amount of free time available during downtime. In addition, research local amenities like restaurants, museums, theaters, beaches and parks in order to make use of any downtime they may have during their downtime.

If a travel nurse assignment is located far away from their home, they should consider how they will commute daily – which might involve taking their car or public transit – before choosing housing near their place of work in order to reduce costs and save time commuting.

Travel Requirements

Becoming a travel nurse requires first earning either an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) from either a two or four-year university, before working through nursing staffing agencies as temporary employees for hospitals and healthcare facilities.

Travel nurses must also be licensed in their state of practice, working with a staffing agency to obtain all of the documents needed for an assignment, including physical exams, drug testing and tuberculosis testing if applicable. Staffing agencies can also help facilitate temporary housing needs if required.

One of the greatest pleasures of being a travel nurse is being able to explore new locations and meet like-minded individuals from across the world. Travel nurses typically form extensive networks of friendship that span across both domestic and global boundaries – yet sometimes leaving loved ones behind while working in various places can be challenging.

Another advantage of travel nursing is being able to take time off between contracts to visit family or pursue hobbies or interests that you find enjoyable. Travel nurses also have the flexibility of switching assignments if their location or environment does not satisfy them.

As a travel nurse, it is imperative that you be ready to relocate at short notice and adapt quickly to any culture in any location. Hospitals and health care facilities typically hire travel nurses as fill-in staff; it may happen that they end your contract early if they no longer require your services – although this is rarely the case, it is still essential that you remain flexible enough and willing to follow where the jobs lead you.

Travel nurses may earn higher pay than permanent nurses in certain positions; however, when selecting their next location it’s essential that they consider all costs associated with living, housing and related expenses when making their decision. They should also ensure they have enough savings or credit card balance available in case their contract doesn’t pay out enough money.


As a travel nurse, you are typically paid an hourly rate plus additional stipends to cover housing and living expenses – these stipends may even be tax-free!

Pay rates depend on both your assignment location and specialty choice; for instance, nursing jobs in areas experiencing severe staffing shortages often command higher pay than regular assignments.

Travel nurses have the option to work per diem or add extra shifts for additional income. Some agencies even provide free housing during assignments – an invaluable benefit that saves both money and allows more time for exploring local areas.

One of the primary challenges of traveling nurses is managing both work and life effectively. Transitions between assignments may prove to be challenging, causing you to miss special holidays or events with loved ones. Furthermore, hospitals have the right to end your contract early should they no longer require your services – but don’t worry; staffing agencies do their best to find you another placement quickly.

Why you want to become a travel nurse is also an essential step. For many, travel nursing offers opportunities to meet new people while exploring various parts of the country; others may need it as a means of earning higher pay so they can meet financial goals like paying off student loans or purchasing their dream home.

As travel nurses, creating and maintaining a strong support network is of utmost importance. Beyond family and friends, it’s also crucial that travel nurses connect with fellow travelers through online groups or meetups – often using these networks as a source of advice, tips, and encouragement.

Travel nursing can be demanding at times, but it offers an amazing opportunity to explore a country while doing something you love – something if you possess both skills and flexibility, then considering becoming one should certainly be taken into consideration!


As a travel nurse, you’ll meet new people and explore exciting locations with every assignment – providing a much-needed respite from staff job burnout! Additionally, traveling allows you to work at various healthcare facilities that may employ different approaches to administration – giving you valuable insight into which facility environment would make a good permanent position later.

Hiring a travel nurse agency to arrange your housing can make budgeting and saving easier, and many agencies also provide healthcare benefits and reimbursements for travel expenses, licensing fees, uniforms and other work-related items.

One of the greatest advantages of travel nursing is avoiding office drama. Since you will likely be seen as newcomer at every assignment, no office politics or backstabbing are an issue for you to deal with.

Travel nurses enjoy the freedom to live anywhere in the country (or world!). If you don’t know where you want to settle permanently, travel nurses have plenty of opportunities to experience different parts of the country until finding one they truly adore. Between assignments you may also take time off to visit friends or family in other parts of the country – just make sure that you notify your agency if any specific dates off are needed; otherwise your vacation days may have to be saved up for future assignments! And of course you will also gain sick days and paid leave benefits making this career choice an attractive career option!