The idea of travel nursing originated in the early 1980s when many states in the U.S. underwent nursing shortages and required nurses to alleviate their temporary staff shortages. Hospitals hired travel nurses to meet their workforce needs because these nurses were willing to travel to new destinations and offer nursing services. Nurses also enjoyed working in this field because this career offered them a schedule and flexibility to visit new countries and cities.
Over the years, this type of nursing has gained great popularity among nurses because a travel nursing career has offered higher wages and benefits, flexibility in work, free housing and scholarships and exposure to new technologies. In addition, nurses were given the opportunity to visit new destinations and gain extensive clinical experience at work. The demand for travel nurses is also increasing among health facility owners as these nurses can meet short-term manpower shortages or assist them in a local emergency. They also managed to avoid unnecessary costs that would otherwise be incurred on permanent nurses in order to meet the needs of temporary staffing.
A traveling nurse must have an RN degree and clinical work experience of 1-1.5 years to work as a travel nurse. There are usually three tracks that can lead to an RN degree. These streams include a) Ancillary Degree in Nursing (ADN), b) Hospital-based diploma program, and c) Bachelor of Science (BSN) in Nursing. ADN lasts about two years; The duration of the diploma program is three years, and BSN is a four-year program. Completion of each of these programs offers the right to appeal the NCLEX-RN examination for an RN certificate.
However, in the travel nursing industry, RNs with a bachelor’s degree are highly sought after because they have extensive clinical experience. However, for faster career growth, lucrative employment and income, registered nurses must also specialize in internships as there are greater requirements for advanced enrollment nurses with internship certification.
There are hundreds of employment agencies across the United States that provide manpower and temporary recruitment services. Qualified nurses must apply to these agencies for travel nursing jobs because these agencies are also called upon by the facility owners to provide and fulfill their temporary manpower needs. These agencies have few rental requirements that must be met by RN, including resume submission, completed applications, state-issued IDs and referrals. Nurses must be free from criminal background, drug use and addiction, and are required to complete tests, shots and vaccinations. After these requirements are completed by the candidates, the recruitment agencies schedule their interview with the owner. The selected nurses receive short-term nursing assignments for 4 to 13 weeks or several months.
However, few of the nurses should remember before they were given these tasks. The nurses must require a written and signed contract for the proposed position. The agreement must include necessary employment information such as job description, working hours, leaves, wages and benefits and termination clauses. The signed contract is beneficial to any future job-related dispute.
The career of travel nurses has a bright future as the healthcare industry is the largest and fastest growing sector in the country. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an additional 526,800 RNs will be required to work in various positions from 2012 to 2022 and their demand will increase by 19% over that period. The shortage of nursing will further increase the demand for travel nurses in the country.