Seven steps to becoming a travel nurse
1. Get experience. Build your resume with at least one year to 18 months worth of clinical experience. Bachelor’s degrees in nursing are preferred, but not required—an associate’s degree in nursing will suffice. Obtain any additional credentials or certifications you can to make your resume richer, and train in any additional specialty areas you are able. Ask to float to other units within your facility to expand your skills. The more experience you have, the more marketable you will be as a travel nurse.
2. Be the interviewer. Be selective when it comes to choosing a travel nurse company to work with. Research as many companies as you can and determine what you are looking for. Companies that are well-established and have been in business for awhile have more contracts available to nurses and have more tools to help them prepare for a successful career in travel nursing. Additionally, research what additional resources the company can offer, especially in terms of continuing education.
In order to get a license in other states, or keep you license in certain states, you need to have certain credentials. Good staffing companies such as Summit Medical Staffing, can help with training. Don’t be afraid to ask around. Other travel nurses can offer a wealth of information about what they like and don’t like about the companies they are working for.
3. Narrow your choices. Once you have researched travel nursing companies, narrow your choices to two or three. Determine what you are looking for in a recruiter and find one you enjoy working with and who will listen to your concerns and meet your needs.
The relationship with the recruiter is so important. It is the number one reason a nurse chooses a company, and the number one reason they stay with the company. A good recruiter will help the candidate determine what they are looking for in a position, what type of setting they desire, and what certifications they will need to work in certain areas.
4. Apply for assignments. Working with your recruiter, determine what is most important to you. Do you want the highest salary you can get, or are you searching for the most fulfilling position? Once you have made your choice, prepare your file with your recruiter to accurately reflect all you have to offer for the position. Submit your application and begin preparing any licensure paperwork you may need to submit for the state you will be working in should you be offered a position.
5. The interview. As your interview approaches, many companies will send sample questions you can use to prepare for your interview. Be ready to answer all the interviewer’s questions, and don’t hold back in sharing any of your experience. Make sure you are giving yourself credit for the experience you have. Some candidates hold back experiences, but interviewers want to see the full scope of the your capabilities.
Flexibility and positivity are also key attributes to highlight during the interview process. For a travel nurse position, nurse managers are looking for nurses with positive attitudes that can fit well with the culture of the facility. Nurses who are willing to be flexible with their schedule will most likely be offered the position.
6. Acceptance. Once you have been offered and accepted a position, now is the time to complete any licensure requirements and begin your travel planning for your new position. A recruiter should be able to assist you with all of these requirements.
7. Tax Advantages. Once you have began as a travel nurse, you should talk to your recruiter about the tax advantages available to you. Pick a home state that is going to offer you the best tax advantage. Your goal is to put more money in your pocket by utilizing the legal tools that an experienced recruiter can offer you. By working with an experienced recruiter and accountant, you can add as much as 15% to you "paycheck".