Growth Trends for Related Jobs
Explore the World as You Serve Others
Travel nurses are registered nurses who accept assignments to work outside of their residential area. If you are adventurous, love to travel and adapt easily to change, a career as a travel nurse could be exciting and fulfilling. Assignments generally last for a few months at a time, which could be challenging for children, so develop a plan for child care and encourage a sense of adventure and flexibility to help your little ones adjust.
Travel nurses are registered nurses who accept assignments to work outside of the area in which they live for several weeks or even months at a time. Assignments can be anywhere in the world and sometimes include unpredictable or on-call hours. Your employer will cover the cost of travel and living in your new environment so that you don’t have to worry about rent. Sometimes, travel nurses have a room in the facility where they work, which could be challenging with little ones still living at home. Assignments often entail working with specific populations, such as cardiac intensive care patients or premature infants. Travel nurses work on medical teams with physicians, medical technicians and other medical professionals. An ability to keep immaculate patient records and tend to patients in a confidential manner is an important characteristic for the position. Expect to spend a good amount of time on your feet as you care for patients and assist in medical procedures.
Travel nurses are required to attend nursing school to earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing, though many employers prefer a bachelor’s degree. After nursing school, you will sit for the licensing exam that’s required to become a registered nurse. It’s common for employers to expect travel nurses to have two to five years of experience as a staff nurse, often within a particular specialty such as obstetrics, psychiatry, pediatrics or geriatric medicine.
Travel nurses earn a salary that’s competitive with the salary of other registered nurses, but the position comes with the added advantage of having some living expenses covered by an employer. The median annual salary for registered nurses is $68,450, which means that half earn more than this, and the other half earns less. The top 10 percent earns more than $102,990, while the lowest 10 percent earns less than $47,120.
About the Industry
Travel nurses work in all kinds of medical settings, including hospitals, clinics, and residential nursing or treatment facilities. Settings can be urban or rural, but they’re normally in areas experiencing a nursing shortage. Work can be demanding and require long hours. Some travel nurses find their contracts themselves, while others work through a specialized staffing agency. Travel nursing assignments provide housing, but arrangements vary greatly from position to position. When you have little children at home, a fully furnished apartment might be OK, but a roommate situation or room in a nursing home is probably not appropriate. Work with your employer or staffing agency to ensure that living arrangements suit your family, or find loved ones to care for your children while you are away on assignment.
Years of Experience
Travel nurses normally enter the profession with a few years of experience as staff nurses and have many living expenses paid for, which is a financial advantage. Pay increases with experience and varies by location, as in other areas of nursing. One salary projection for registered nurses looks like this:
- 1–3 Years: $58,534
- 4–6 Years: $64,843
- 7–9 Years: $70,097
- 10–14 Years: $72,903
- 15 or More Years: $77,692
Job Growth Trend
Job opportunities for all registered nurses, including travel nurses, are expected to increase by 15 percent over the next decade, which is much faster than in other industries. Demand is due to an aging population and changes in health care that reduce hospital stays, but increase stays in long-term care facilities as well as the use of in-home nursing services. Travel nurses with well-defined specialties and an excellent work record stand out to employers and agencies.
Anne Kinsey is an entrepreneur and business pioneer, who has ranked in the top 1% of the direct sales industry, growing a large team and earning the title of Senior Team Manager during her time with Jamberry. She is the nonprofit founder and executive director of Love Powered Life, as well as a Certified Trauma Recovery Coach and freelance writer who has written for publications like Working Mother, the San Francisco Chronicle, Bizfluent, the Houston Chronicle and Our Everyday Life. Anne works from her home office in rural North Carolina, where she resides with her husband and three children.