How to Become an Emergency Room Travel Nurse

How to Become an Emergency Room Travel Nurse

Emergency room nurses have a rewarding but challenging job that includes quick assessment of a patient as well as treating patients during the first phase of an illness or trauma, frequently in life-threatening situations. These hard-working RNs often have the flexibility to work morning, evening or night shifts as emergencies occur 24/7. An emergency room travel nurse enjoys even more flexibility with the opportunity to work at various facilities in destinations across the country.

The Role of an Emergency Room Travel Nurse

An emergency room travel nurse has the same role as a traditional ER nurse, only they work for a healthcare staffing agency rather than working directly for the facility. They must assess, intervene and stabilize patients who may have all sorts of illnesses and/or trauma that requires quick, decisive action.  They are required to be highly knowledgeable when it comes to both general health conditions and specific medical issues, as well as understand triage. Triage is a way to prioritize a patient’s physical and mental condition based on their need for medical attention. These nurses must be able to make an accurate, quick assessment, often under pressure, of their patients.

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Reasons to Become an ER Travel Nurse

Being an emergency nurse isn’t easy and it’s sometimes very emotional, but it can also be quite rewarding. They not only directly impact their patients’ lives, but because they often see it all, from cuts and bruises to strep throat, broken bones and diabetic shock, and just about everything in between, they learn an incredible amount on the job that can help take their career to the next level. As a traveling emergency room, working at different facilities, this is taken up another notch with even more opportunities for learning a wide range of skills.

While all that alone is reason enough to become an ER nurse, being an emergency room travel nurse means receiving an even higher salary and especially desirable benefits, such as free housing or a housing stipend, free travel, insurance, direct deposit, and the chance to experience new places and meet new people.

Salary for Emergency Room Travel RNs

Emergency room travel nursing jobs are in very high demand. The salary for a traditional ER nurse is over $90,000 per year, while travel ER nurses typically make well over $100,000 in addition to housing and all the other benefits. Some of the highest-paying states for travel ER nurses are California, New York, Alaska, Texas and Massachusetts.

How Much Experience is Required to become an ER Travel Nurse?

Most facilities prefer hiring ER travel nurses who have experience working in the ER, and especially those who are Certified Emergency Nurses, which can be earned with two years of experience in the emergency room. Some travel nursing agencies do offer special new grad travel nurse programs to help prepare you for an ER travel job.

How to Get Started as an Emergency Room Travel RN

To become an emergency room nurse, like other nursing specialties, you’ll need to graduate with a degree in nursing (either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, with the latter preferred) from an accredited nursing school. You’ll need to become certified by passing the NCLEX-RN, and then apply to the Board of Nursing to get your license.

Once you’re ready to travel, you’ll need to find a travel nursing company that offers a desirable compensation and benefits package along with open ER travel nurse positions. As that can take hours and hours of your time, it’s much better accomplished by allowing us to match you with the best company for your situation. There is no cost or obligation to you, you’ll simply fill out a brief online form which will provide you with access to the very best travel jobs for emergency room nurses.

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How to Become a Emergency Room Travel Nurse

  1. Become a Licensed Registered Nurse 

    An ER travel nurse must first become a licensed Registered Nurse. To become a licensed RN you must graduate from a two year (Associate’s degree) or four year (bachelor’s degree) nursing program approved by your state Board of Nursing. Then the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN) must be taken and passed.

  2. Gain Experience As a Registered Nurse

    Once the NCLEX-RN has been passed, you may begin working as a Registered Nurse. To become a Emergency Room travel nurse, a minimum of one year of experience working in a Emergency department setting is required– two years of experience is ideal.

  3. Obtain Credentials and Certifications

    ER nurses will need to be certified in basic life support (BLS) and advanced cardiac life support (ACLS). Acquiring the Certified Nurse credential can help you enhance your career as an ER nurse. This certification is offered by the Emergency Nurse Association (ENA).

  4. Compare Travel Nursing Companies

    Once the required licenses, certifications and relevant experience are obtained, a nurse is eligible to become a travel ER nurse. There are hundreds of travel nursing companies with Emergency nursing positions. A nurse should speak with several companies and compare what each company offers. Factors to consider when comparing travel nurse companies are: housing (agency based vs. stipend), benefits (medical, dental, 401k, completion bonus), salary (hourly wage, allowances, overtime), guaranteed hours policy, and travel nursing destinations (availability of jobs in the geographic location the nurse wants to work).

  5. Choose a Travel Nursing Company and Accept A Position

    After comparing travel nursing companies and what each has to offer, the nurse will decide on a position and will be offered a contract. The travel nursing contract must be read carefully and fully understood. The nurse must ensure all questions are answered before signing the contract and accepting the position.

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