4 Ways To Start A Career In Travel Nursing

February 22, 2022 Catherine Tacopina

As the country’s critical nursing shortage continues, healthcare systems are turning to travel nurses in order to fill their immediate hiring needs. For nurses on the hunt for your next role, travel nursing can be an extremely rewarding and lucrative career path.

“A top priority for many of the healthcare systems we partner with is to ensure they have enough medical professionals on staff to provide high quality and safe patient care,” says Rebecca Guerrero, an Account Executive who works within our Healthcare division. “This has proven to be a challenge as organizations face high clinical turnover and a vexing talent shortage. As a result, they are turning to travel nurses to come in and fill the gaps.”

[Resource] 2022 Healthcare Hiring Outlook

In order to attract these professionals, many facilities are willing to offer high compensation and other benefits like flexible hours and mental health support. Other benefits of travel nursing include opportunities to live in different locations, expand your network, and make a strong impact on communities in need.

Interested in trying travel nursing? To land a role, here are four key things healthcare employers look for when hiring travel nurses:

Experience within a specialty area

At least one year of clinical experience is essential if you want to pursue travel nursing. “Healthcare facilities want travel nurses who can come in, do a day or two of orientation, and then hit the ground running before the end of their first week,” says Rebecca. “The majority of facilities who hire travel nurses are understaffed and don’t have the time to provide extensive on-the-job training. They need to be able to trust that the travel nurse can fend for themselves and can also transition into their new role very quickly.”

If you’re a nurse with several years of experience under your belt, it’s critical that you highlight your level of experience and skillset within a specialty area throughout your resume. If you’re currently lacking the experience these facilities are looking for, choose a specialty area that interests you and start to gain experience before applying to travel nursing roles.

Transferable essential skills

Healthcare facilities are facing unprecedented levels of voluntary turnover, which means that you could be called to fill in for a different unit at any time. As a result, healthcare facilities are looking for nurses with transferable skills to address this increasingly prevalent issue. “While you do need to be experienced and skilled within a specific specialty area to get hired, you’ll be a more in-demand candidate if you have essential nursing skills that can be applied in different settings,” says Juliet Gallicano, a Senior Director of Nursing. “For example, if you’re a Medical-Surgical Nurse but you know how to start an IV and set up a ventilator, the facility could ask you to provide support within their ICU.”

Up-to-date certifications

While experience is key to getting hired as a travel nurse, it’s equally as important to ensure all of your certifications are up-to-date. “Even if you have several years of experience under your belt, a facility likely won’t hire you if your certifications aren’t up-to-date,” explains Juliet. “Not only does having your certifications help ease patient anxiety, but it reassures your employer that you’re able to administer patient care to its fullest potential.”

Compact nursing license

In order to be hired as a travel nurse, you need to have a license to practice in the state you’re applying to. However, having a compact license can open the door to many more opportunities if you decide to pursue a career in travel nursing. “If you have a compact, multi-state licensure, there are currently 39 states where you can apply for jobs and get hired,” says Juliet. “For example, if you live in Virginia but have your compact nursing license, you could also work in states like Texas and Arizona.” This not only gives you more options than a single-state license does, but opens the doors to so many new experiences you can have as a nurse!

Interested in a career in travel nursing? Check out our website for travel nursing opportunities across the country!

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