Ask a Travel Nurse: Where do I start? How do I become a travel nurse?


I recently had a reader that listed her credentials and background and wanted to know where she should start in regard to becoming a travel nurse. My knee-jerk reaction was short and simple: Read my book.

This year I published a book on the subject of becoming a travel nurse. I spent close to 300 pages in an effort to answer the single question, “How do I become a travel nurse?, so I have no realistic expectation of being able to thoroughly answer such a question here. However, I do imagine that it is a common question on the minds of potential travelers. So, I thought maybe I could hit a few high points and if anyone has any specific questions, please feel to write and I will follow this posting with more information.

I suppose the first step for most travelers is in choosing their travel company. A quick Internet search for “travel nurse companies” brought me pages of listings for companies that specialize in placing travel nurses. As of this writing, there are over one hundred different travel companies, which would leave most nurses scratching their head wondering which one to choose.

First, determine which type of traveler you are. Do you want to travel to a specific location, or are you all about the Benjamins (meaning “money” for those of you not up on your street slang). While one company might offer more money, another might have the services you want such as free healthcare coverage or arranging your apartment in your assignment location. You might have to sacrifice services if you want the higher pay, and vice-versa. Determine what is most important to you and then look at what each company offers.

After you visit each company’s website and have narrowed your choices, I would encourage registering with a forum site for travel nurses and see what others have to say. I know that Delphi has a forum specific to healthcare travelers, as does See if you can find postings regarding any prospective companies or even post your own asking if anyone has any experience with a certain company. Always consider your source and don’t just take one person’s advice. But, if you start reading post after post telling you to “stay away” from a certain company, you might want to consider that advice.

Hopefully, that will help with what might be your first step in exploring the world of travel nursing. As I mentioned before, I spent 300 pages and an entire year of my life in answering the question of where to start as a travel nurse (If interested, you can find a link to it on this site). Whether you decide to read my book, a travel company sponsored website, or other nursing blogs, I always encourage someone just starting out to gather all the knowledge they can. While it is not hard to become a travel nurse, many have already completed the journey and can be very instrumental in helping with yours.

Posted in: Ask a Travel Nurse

About the Author:

Hello everyone. I’m a travel nurse originally from Ohio who graduated in 1993 from Mount Carmel School of Nursing in Columbus. I completed a critical care fellowship at Riverside Methodist Hospital in 1994 and started traveling in that specialty a year later. My first travel assignment was in Maui and since that time I have completed close to 40 different contracts in various states with multiple travel companies. I am the author of Travel Nurse’s Bible (A Guide to Everything on Travel Nursing), in addition to my writings here and in the pages of Travel Nursing publications such as Healthcare Traveler Magazine and American Nurse Today. I am presently on assignment in Phoenix, AZ and travel anywhere from six to eleven months of the year.

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  1. edna


    can travel nurses travel outside of the country too?

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