Travel Nursing is such an appealing career path that Travel Nursing Blogs often hears from nursing students — and even high school students! — who want to know how they can get started on the path towards their first assignment.
First, of course, you must have the proper nursing school education, earn your RN degree, and pass the NCLEX-RN test. Once that’s taken care of you’ll need to gain some hospital experience prior to traveling.
So what kind of experience and how much experience do you need to start working as a travel nurse?
Before you ever hit the road, hospitals want to see 1-2 years current hospital experience in order for them to hire you for a travel assignment. The industry standard used to be one year, but now hovers more around two years. (Be wary if an agency tells you they can get you an assignment right out of school; it might mean they are misrepresenting your prospects and/or cutting corners.)
If you are just out of school, you’ll want to find perm or per diem work that will allow you to practice your profession and amass the necessary experience to begin traveling.
Another scenario is that you could have 10 years hospital experience, but if it’s not current you may not be accepted to an assignment. Say you worked in a hospital for 10 years but then spent 5 as an elementary school nurse, you should get some more recent hospital experience in order to travel. Per diem work is a great way to accomplish that.
Remember, experience in order to travel is not an arbitrary requirement, it is very important for you to be practiced in your professional game as Travel Nursing requires you to jump right in and succeed in an unfamiliar facility. Your license and reputation are at stake, and you definitely want to be able to perform well.