Q&A: The Travel Nurse Experience

August 30th, 2018 | Posted by admin in Travel Nursing, Travel Tips, Traveler Tips

Travel nursing is a unique opportunity to visit your dream destination and receive a host of other benefits as well. Virtually all specialties have options at hospitals and medical centers across the country.

If you’re looking for a break from the usual, it may be time to plan your travel nursing experience.

How Does Travel Nursing Work?

As you’ve grown to understand the intricacies of managing shifts and possibly even obtained a specialty certification, has it crossed your mind that you may be able to take your career across the state or across the country? One of the most interesting paths you can take as a Registered Nurse may sound too good to be true.

Imagine being employed as an RN, receiving free or discounted housing, and being able to take that privilege to any hospital or medical center in the United States. Initially created as a way to supplement a nationwide nursing shortage, travel nursing is the process of working with a staffing agency to find employment in your desired location for a period of months.

Standard assignments for travel RNs will last roughly 13 weeks. The length may vary, and you may be offered a renewal on your contract to complete another assignment. It’s your choice if you want to keep traveling or return home after an assignment.

How Do I Get Started As A Travel Nurse?

While there is a demand for LPNs, RNs have the most opportunities available to them with only a few steps to get started. Additionally, some travel nursing companies have a minimum experience level before you can begin working as a nurse and traveling the country.

Before you pack your bags, the first step is to identify which staffing agency you’d like to join. It’s standard to require a complete application and skills checklist prior to acceptance, and you may have to provide information proving your licensure, supplying references, and any additional certifications.

Assuming your paperwork is processed and you’re accepted, the next step is to get matched with a recruiter. This role exists to serve as your point of contact to complete the rest of the process. At this point, the recruiter can also assist you if you have not yet determined your desired location, a type of specialty, or facility size. Depending on the size of the staffing agency you choose, there may be hundreds or thousands of opportunities available for you, and your recruiter uses your information and input to provide the best options to you based on your individual circumstances.

As with any position, there will still be a formal interview that will likely be conducted remotely.

Is It Really That Simple?

The luxurious benefits offered to travel nurses may convince you to apply, but in between accepting your offer and when you start your assignment you will need to understand a few nuances worth your attention. As a competent professional, you’ll be able to navigate these as they come, but here is the first look at decisions you may have to make when transitioning to travel nursing.

As a part of the process of working with a travel nursing agency, you will be required to obtain licensure in the location that you want to work. In the event you don’t have a nursing license in the location you want, the staffing agency you work with will assist you in getting licensed. Some agencies will even help cover licensure costs.


Next, let’s talk about housing. Moving every 13 weeks is an adjustment for everyone, though preferred travel nursing companies will coordinate your living situation prior to the start of the assignment. Housing options will depend on which travel nursing staffing agency you choose. You may be offered a fully furnished apartment or be paired with another nurse traveler for a particular assignment.

If you prefer to find your own place to live, some agencies will provide you with a housing allowance to pay for an apartment. Agencies may vary on whether they pay full utilities and expenses for you to get to your travel assignment.


Next, you’ll want to understand the benefits available to you as a travel nurse. Based on your specialty and location, you may be offered options including but not limited to health, dental, retirement, and limited paid time off. Some travel nursing agencies allow you to take extended absences between assignments and will accommodate your benefits during this period as well.

It’s no secret that Hawaii is one of the top-rated destinations for travel nursing assignments, and it’s possible to bring members of your family with you to your assignment location. While housing is not necessarily intended to accommodate a family of four, it’s safe to assume you will have the option of an efficiency or one-bedroom apartment. If you’re planning to travel with a member of your family and you don’t want to get caught in a tight living space, you have the opportunity to pay the difference to move into a larger place. If you have a pet, just make sure to get approval from your housing complex and confirm with any potential roommates.

What Are The Advantages Of Travel Nursing?

Depending on where you live now, you may want to travel to a warmer climate or a location with beach access. Take advantage of the freedom and flexibility that you’ll have during this time to schedule trips and enjoy your time off the clock.

This is also a way to change your social scene as well as travel nursing permits you to meet new friends, neighbors, and coworkers. This is your chance to explore the country that most professions don’t offer. For this reason, travel nurses are interested and open to new environments, including assignments that may place you in facilities you’ve never worked in, becoming familiar with new equipment or protocols than what you’re used to, or just experiencing a different hospital or medical center than what’s familiar to you.

You will undoubtedly come away from your travel nurse experience with new stories, social circles, and maybe even a new permanent address if you so choose.

Where Can I Find Travel Nurse Assignments Near Me?

Working as a travel nurse is an adventure, and PPR Travel Nursing helps registered nurses like you every day to take the first step.

If you know where you’d like to travel, you can search for open positions on our nationwide travel nurse job board.

In the special case that you’d like to travel but would like to consult with someone prior to applying for any one specific assignment, use our Quick Apply to indicate interest and someone will reach out soon to start you on your travel nurse adventure.

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