What is a travel nurse?
The concept of hiring registered nurses that travel in their hometown or across the country developed in the 1980s when the healthcare industry realized that there was a serious shortage of nurses. At that time travel nurses were considered a short-term fix for states like Arizona and California where there were not enough local nurses available to staff vacant hospital positions. What was originally meant to be a short term solution for hospitals that were short staffed turned into an industry, which consists of countless travel nursing companies who offer thousands of positions to nurses who have at least 1 to 3 years of experience in the nursing profession.
Travel nurses are independent, competent and flexible. They love challenges and are problem solvers, who usually have a great deal of experience. Travel nursing positions are very attractive for several reasons. The assignments can be as short as three months or in some cases they can turn into a full time position. The financial benefits aren’t bad either. RN’s can average anywhere from $30 to $40 per hour and overtime can be time and a half or double time, depending on the location of the hospital. Some living expenses are covered, but there are some out of pocket expenses. The lodging expense allowance is usually around $800 per month. Insurance and retirement benefits and the flexible schedules that are included in some travel agreements make the concept an excellent choice for nurses who want to see other parts of the country and in certain situations, other parts of the world and get paid doing it.
If I am an RN do I need a BSN to become a travel nurse?
As long as a nurse has a current RN license in the state where they will be employed or the new state honors your current license and you have at least 1 to 3 years of experience plus you’re current on all certifications in your specialty and have completed a health exam, a drug test, immunization requirements and have at least 3 solid references and pass a criminal background check, then you qualify for a position as a travel nurse. Some travel nurses do pursue an online BSN because the travel position gives them the freedom to continue studying in order to increase their benefits and compensation.
Travel nurse’s fall into four categories: Independent contractor, travel nurse, agency nurse and registry nurse. The independent contractor works with human resource departments directly and creates their own deal with a hospital. A travel nurse works through a travel nursing agency to secure a travel position. An agency nurse will work on a casual basis and is able to sign up for work on very short notice regardless of the location and the registry nurse who is falls into the category of a agency nurse but only works locally and is usually managed by a nursing agency. All four categories have enough free time available to enroll in an online BSN program because they all offer flexibility and most online courses can be completed in less than 4 years.
What are the advantages to earning a BSN?
The difference between an RN and a BSN may not be noticeable to the patient, but the additional technical training as well as the education gained, plus the potential to advance in the healthcare industry are worth the time and money. A nurse with a BSN reviews research papers, works with medical leaders in their healthcare facility and are candidates for management positions which include head nurse, assistant director, director and other high level positions within the organization. A BSN degree also helps a nurse move into the business aspect of nursing. A nurse with a BSN can become a manager of a pharmaceutical company or an insurance company as well as other healthcare organizations.
Is it hard to find an online program?
There are over 700 RN to BSN online programs available. Employers usually have tuition reimbursement programs, which can be an incentive to study online, but the biggest incentive to continue a nursing education is the personal satisfaction of advancing professionally using intellectual and technological skills. Once a BSN degree is achieved an online MSN and a doctorate are the next steps in developing critical leadership skills which completely change your personal dynamics not only in the travel nursing industry, but in any area of the healthcare industry.