Becoming a Travel Nurse and Researching Travel Nurse Companies

Seasonal and regional nurse shortages in the 1980s caused the emergence of travel nurse companies, which specialize in giving nurses the opportunity to travel anywhere in the United States where there is a nurse shortage. Since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the nurse shortage to worsen over the next seven years, travel nursing is a field with expected strong growth. This fact can make anyone who values having a strong health care career want to become a travel nurse, except most people do not know how to become one.In order to become a travel nurse, a person has to have an active state license as a registered nurse, licensed practical nurse or vocational nurse and be in good standing. A nurse also needs a minimum of a year of healthcare experience, preferably in a hospital setting. Then it is time to find a travel staffing agency, which will place them at an agreed number of job assignments around the country or locally.Before deciding to settle for any nursing travel agency that happens to be listed online, it is highly recommended to looks at what areas in the United States are favorable to them. According to one travel nursing web site, Florida, California and Arizona have the most opportunities for nurses. However, if one wants to work and live somewhere else in the United States that is possible since travel nurses can work in all of the states. They just need to obtain the license of the state where they will work.The next step of becoming a travel nurse is researching travel agencies. When performing research on travel companies and what they offer their clients, one needs to consider if the agency helps their clients obtain a state license or not. This factor helps determine how helpful the agency is and can help a person determine whether or not they want to work with the agency. While 27 states require nurses to obtain a license right from them in order to work there, the other 23 states do not. These 23 states entered an agreement with each other known as the Nurse Licensure Compact, which allows nurses to work in any of the 23 states with a license that was obtained from only one of the 23 states. According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, these 23 states are Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.Some travel nurse agencies will recruit specifically for an assignment, arrange contracts and assist in finding housing. Most agencies arrange the housing in their name while some allow the travel nurse to partake in finding and selecting the housing. If a travel nurse decides to go outside of the company when purchasing housing, most companies offer a housing stipend.Some agencies offer a travel allowance, which may or may not cover all traveling costs. Some agencies offer healthcare insurance, licensure reimbursement, referral bonuses for referring travel nurses to them, stock investment, continuing education reimbursements, vacation and sick days.Travel assignments can range from eight weeks to a year; however, the average majority of assignments are just thirteen weeks. At the end of an assignment, travel nurses can opt to stay at that location, if possible, or choose another available location. It is possible for nurses to sign up with more than one travel nurse agency and to change at will.After researching travel nursing companies and a person has decided which travel company to work with, it is best to schedule an interview with the travel agency. During the interview the nursing company will assess a person’s skills for placement. A recruiter will be assigned to the client to go over individual needs, goals and opportunities. The recruiter will contact the client when a matching position becomes available.