It refers to a nursing assignment idea established in the ’70s to address the nursing shortage problem (Kingma, 2018). Travel nursing provides the nurses who travel and work in short-lived nursing positions, mainly in the hospitals. While the term traditionally is used as a reference towards the nursing profession, it could also be used as a general term referring to the nurses plus the other associated healthcare workers such as dentists, physicians, physician’s assistants, and advanced practice nurses. Travel contracts related to the healthcare professionals are used to fill gaps in the healthcare workforce in hospitals, disaster relief organizations and global charity programs. The first travel nurses in the United States were recruited in 1978 by a private agency run by entrepreneur Bruce Male, whose company Travel Nursing Corps later became known as “Travcorps.” Travel nursing prospects have been cited for various reasons, including increased pay in some instances, professional advancement, and personal adventure. A traveller may choose to work as an Independent Contractor or with one or many recruitment agencies, which intermediaries between the potential employers and the traveller. A traveller’s agency can apply for multiple positions on the traveller’s behalf.
U.S. private staffing industry travel nurses typically need at least one and a half clinical experience years in their speciality, with one year preferred, and a license in the state where they are working, generally obtained through reciprocity with their home state’s nursing board. Some travel companies may cover the purchase of a license or other credentials for their customers. The new hospital may provide a brief orientation to the travel nurse (and, on fewer occasions, no orientation). There is a high standard for travel nurses in terms of experience and expertise required in the field they are working in.
With an NLC license, a nurse can practice in some other compact state, as long as they have a valid license from their home state and their permanent residency is in one of the other member-states. This helps expedite the process of obtaining a license in another state, potentially reducing the time it takes to get employed. The NLC currently has 26 member states.
Travel nurses typically work under short-termed contracts. These contracts usually last between four and thirteen weeks in the U.S.; however, longer assignments of up to 26 weeks are possible. Contract extensions will be offered if there is any necessity for the traveller nurses to continue with their work. Contracts signed outside of the United States might last anywhere from one to two years. At the contract end, the hospital may offer permanent employment to the nurse. Travelling nurses can also find work abroad. Nursing homes, rehabilitation centres, private practices, community health centres, clinics, and hospitals are familiar places for nurses to work.
Hospitals pay travel nursing agencies, which in turn pay the travel nurse. The bill rate is the money amount a hospital pays to the agency. The traveller is reimbursed for the difference between the bill rate and the agency’s costs, overhead, and profit margin. Higher rates than those provided to permanent employees are the standard to compensate travellers. Wages could vary from thirty dollars to fifty dollars per hour based on various factors. The assignment location, demand for the post, local living cost, and the nursing speciality type needed are all factors that influence salary. Travellers who work for an agency that provides many non-wage benefits may be paid less than those who work for an agency that provides no or little non-wage benefits (GUERDAN, 2020).
A furnished one-bedroom apartment is the most common accommodation offered by travel agencies. Utilities (water, electricity, and waste disposal) may be incorporated. Internet access, cable television, and phone service are all common add-ons. Basic housewares, such as pots, dishes, utensils, and linens, can be found in most rental properties, including a washer and a microwave. Some travel organizations allow the travel nurse to assist in house choosing.
Most agencies will provide a housing allowance to a nurse who prefers to live elsewhere. Tax-free stipends are possible when the traveller possesses a “qualifying tax home” as defined by IRS Publication 463 or if a qualified tax preparer is used who is familiar with working with international travellers. Some companies mandate that travellers accept the housing allowance as compensation for their time away from home. If the traveller doesn’t have a qualifying tax home, the housing stipend or the value of the furnished housing is taxed as part of the salary.
Pet-friendly accommodations can command a higher rental rate because many travelling nurses want to bring their pets along with them. If a hospital cancels the assignment after only a few weeks, the travelling nurse will be left stranded without a place to call home; therefore, a flexible lease is preferred.
Travelling advantage: It is possible to live and work in various locations across the United States and even abroad in some cases when an individual choose travel nursing. If travelling to work, individuals might visit other areas that interest them. Travel nurses have the option of looking for jobs in specific areas that interest them. In general, travel nurses have the freedom to look for open positions all over the country and pick the ones that suit their preferences the best.
Chance to work in varying facilities: Staff nurses work in a similar facility, same job and similar coworkers. Travel nurses can work in several settings, from small rural to huge medical facilities. So they can practice in a variety of different work environments. They can expand their options for working environments that match their preferences as they grow in their personal preferences.
Professional development: Nurses who work in similar places every day can get bored, but travel nurses get to experience new places many times a year and don’t have to worry about that happening. As a result, they have a diverse professional experiences and can adjust quickly. Depending on where they work, they may be required to learn new skills. As a result, they are exposed to various methods for carrying out their duties at the various healthcare facilities where they work.
Professional networking chance: Travel nurses will have the opportunity to work with a wide range of medical professionals and specializations. This allows them to build a substantial professional network and establish relationships in a wide variety of sectors across the United States. Networking with other experts can help you enhance your career.
Interesting lifestyle: Travelling from one place to another and from time to time, travel nurses can create a unique and intriguing lifestyle. Because of this, they can experience a wide range of various cultures and lifestyles across the country. When a travel nurse can work in a location close to their home, they can also opt to settle in that location.
Flexibility in their work: A travel nurse can begin a new contract immediately after the end of their current one, or they may choose to take time before committing to a new one. Most careers don’t offer this kind of flexibility. As a result, the choice of when to work can significantly impact travel nurses’ earnings and work-life balance (Faller et al., 2018).
Higher salaries and unique advantages: Travel nurses typically earn higher salaries than the other staff nurses. Travel nurses could earn an average of one hundred thousand dollars a year, while the staff nurses could earn an average of seventy thousand a year. Additionally, they are given tax-free advantages when working in areas different from their home state during their travels and lodging. Staffing agencies or healthcare facilities might also give incentives to the travel nurses, especially when they are in high demand.
Frequent packing and moving: To be a travel nurse, one must be willing to relocate many times a year. The average length of a travel nursing contract is thirteen weeks, although some contracts may be extended. This indicates that the average person can expect to change residences four times every year at the very least. As a result, most professionals enjoy the opportunity to live and work in different parts of the country.
High vehicle maintenance: Most travel nurses prefer driving to their workplaces to flying, as they have access to their vehicle for transportation. This implies that they may be required to travel hundreds of kilometres between jobs. Professionals, therefore, are required to maintain their cars to keep them in good condition.
Possible loneliness: Some people may find it challenging to be away from loved ones and friends for an extended period. Professionals may feel isolated or homesick. Some travel nurses bring their pets on postings to reduce loneliness (Stergiopoulos et al., 2016).
Inconsistent salary: Depending on the location, the job requirements, and the company, the pay for travel nurses varies from contract to contract. Meaning their wages might fluctuate, thus affecting the budget plan. In addition, travel nurses are only paid while working under a three-month contract.
Frequent interviews and job searches: When a travel nurse’s contract expires, they have two options: either locate a new job or extend their contract. This means negotiating a new contract just weeks after their current one finishes for many travel nurses. As a result, they’ll have to conduct interviews and job searches numerous times a year to be considered for each contract as a new hire.
Numerous state licenses are required: A travel nurse is required to be licensed in every state in which they work. The travel nurse must prepare in advance for contractual positions to get a license for an impending post before the contract begins. Short-term nursing contracts might benefit from temporary licenses available in several states. Many travel nurses prefer the compact multiple-state license, which permits them to practice in twenty-five states with one license.
Travelling might be enticing to a career nurse for many reasons, but it can also be detrimental. Short-term assignments mean that an individual may not have time to settle into a new place before the end. Loneliness can set in when an individual is always on the move, especially if coworkers are unfriendly (Faller et al., 2017).
Working in high-risk settings with exposure to bloodborne diseases, workplace violence’s and toxins can also be a part of being a travel nurse. It’s critical to follow all of its safety guidelines while taking on these kinds of projects. However, when it comes to choosing where to work, travel nurses are in control, so they don’t have to accept an assignment they aren’t happy with.
There are numerous ways individuals may apply to solve the nursing travelling problem. One way is to network with other nurses who can provide an edge when choosing their next job. Another way is the traveller nurse can enquire from the recruiter whether the institution they are going to work in has a reputation of being traveller friendly.
Faller, M., Dent, B., & Gogek, J. (2017). A single-hospital study of travel nurses and quality: what is their impact on the patient experience?. Nurse Leader, 15(4), 271-275.
Faller, M., Dent, B., & Gogek, J. (2018). The ROI of travel nursing: A full-cost comparison of core staff pay rates to travel nurse bill rates. Nursing Economics, 36(4), 177-181.
GUERDAN, E. (2020). CHAPTER THREE TRAVEL NURSING ELIZABETH GUERDAN, RN, MSN, CCRN-CSC, CNE. The Many Roles of the Registered Nurse, 14.
Kingma, M. (2018). Nurses on the Move. Nurses on the Move.
Stergiopoulos, S., Eustace, C., Stem, K., & Getz, K. A. (2016). Mobile nurse services in clinical trials: usage and industry perceptions. Therapeutic Innovation & Regulatory Science, 50(4), 442-449.