Whether you’re just getting started as a travel nurse or you’re thinking about embarking on a career in travel nursing, you probably have quite a few questions – these are some of the most frequently asked.
Can I Choose Where to Travel?
Depending on your specialty and what’s currently in demand, you can choose where you want to go. While your preferred destination may not immediately be available, you’re likely to find at least a few desirable cities, and perhaps your favorite will have an opening the next time around. If you have limited experience and are hoping to start a career in travel nursing, you will have an easier time landing that first travel assignment by being more flexible when it comes to location. With more experience down the road, you’re likely to qualify for a wider range of openings.
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Can I Bring My Pet?
There are many pet-friendly healthcare staffing agencies and in most cases, you’ll be able to bring your cat, dog, bird or hamster. You probably won’t be able to bring your horse, goat, chickens or tiger, however. Do keep in mind that having a pet can make it harder to find housing in some cities, so you may have to be a little more flexible with the destination or secure your own housing. Here are some tips for travel nursing with pets.
Can I Travel with My Family?
Many travel nursing companies encourage travel nurses to bring their families along – there are few, if any, that don’t allow it. That said, some are better at dealing with the challenges that it can bring than others. The recruiter you work with can make a difference too, so you may want to inquire further to find out what their experience is when it comes to working with nurses who want to travel with their families. This can limit accommodation options, as you’ll probably need a larger unit than you would if you were traveling on your own. You may decide that it’s best to take a housing stipend and secure housing yourself.
If your spouse or partner is a nurse or other healthcare professional, the company may be able to arrange for them to work within the same facility, or at least in the same area. This can help increase earnings as well, as one partner in the relationship may be able to take the free housing while the other takes the housing stipend, adding significantly to the overall compensation package.
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How Much Experience is Required to Become a Travel Nurse?
A minimum of one year of recent experience in your specialty area, preferably in a hospital setting, is required to become a traveling nurse. Two years of experience is ideal and, depending on the job, may be required.
How Long are Travel Nursing Assignments?
Travel nursing assignments are typically for 13 weeks at a time, but they can range anywhere from 4 weeks to 26 weeks, or even a year in some cases. If you like the location and facility and don’t want to leave after the initial contract, you may be able to extend the assignment longer.
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How Long Will It Take to Secure a Travel Nursing Job?
The time it takes to secure your first travel nursing job can vary significantly depending on multiple factors, including how flexible you are with your requirements. The more flexible, the faster it’s likely to be. If you only want to take a travel nursing assignment in Hawaii, for example, and aren’t open to other locations, it can take a lot longer than someone who is open to, perhaps, anywhere the weather is mild year-round, or even better, any destination at all. Generally, you’ll want to begin comparing travel nursing companies as soon as you decide to pursue a career in travel nursing.