What is Travel Nursing?
Travel nursing is a specialized form of nursing that involves working on short-term assignments or contracts in different healthcare facilities and locations. Travel nurses are registered nurses (RNs) who typically work in hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, or other healthcare settings.
The primary motivation for travel nursing is the opportunity to explore different parts of the country or even internationally while gaining professional experience. Travel nurses may choose to work in different cities, states, or countries for a specified period, typically ranging from a few weeks to several months. This flexibility allows them to experience various healthcare settings, cultures, and patient populations.
Travel nurses often work with staffing agencies that specialize in placing healthcare professionals in temporary assignments. These agencies assist in finding suitable positions and handling the logistics of travel, housing, and licensing requirements. Some travel nurses may also work independently and negotiate contracts directly with healthcare facilities.
The benefits of travel nursing
sometimes housing or accommodation provided by the agency or healthcare facility.
Requirements for Becoming A travel Nurse in the United States
To become a travel nurse in the United States as an internationally trained nurse, you’ll need to have the following requirements;
Obtain a nursing degree (BSN) or Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN)
Ensure that you have completed a nursing program and obtained the necessary degree in your home country. The degree should be equivalent to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in the United States. This will typically involve completing a nursing program, clinical rotations, and passing the required exams.
Pass the NCLEX-RN exam
The National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) is a standardized exam that nurses in the U.S. must pass to obtain their nursing license. International nurses need to take the NCLEX-RN exam to demonstrate their competency. You’ll need to research the specific requirements for international candidates and register for the exam through the appropriate licensing board. Passing the NCLEX exam could be challenging but there are tips for passing such visiting past papers and sample questions which help you get familiar with what you expect.
Completing a BSN takes three years while a ADN takes around two years.
Obtain a U.S. Nursing License
Once you’ve passed the NCLEX-RN exam, you’ll need to apply for a nursing license in the state(s) where you intend to work as a travel nurse. Each state has its own nursing board, so you’ll need to research the requirements for the specific state(s) you’re interested in. This process typically involves submitting an application, providing required documents (such as educational transcripts and proof of licensure from your home country), and paying the necessary fees.
Gain clinical experience
Many travel nursing agencies and healthcare facilities prefer nurses with some experience. It’s advisable to gain experience as a nurse in your home country before pursuing travel nursing opportunities in the U.S. This will enhance your resume and provide you with the necessary skills and confidence to work in different healthcare settings.
Research travel nursing agencies
Numerous travel nursing agencies in the United States help connect healthcare facilities with travel nurses. Research reputable agencies that offer international placements or have experience working with internationally trained nurses. Compare their requirements, benefits, and support services to find the one that suits your needs.
Some of the best travel nursing agencies are:
UPMC Staffing– UPMC staffing prides itself in providing high-quality services and support to its applicants. Some of the benefits of choosing this staffing agency are tuition reimbursement, flexible work schedules and fair compensation.
Aya Healthcare– It is one of the largest agencies for travel nurse placements. It offers benefits like 401k, medical plan, sick pay while on assignment, fitness programs, and Aya Scholars program. If you are looking to work with a large agency Aya is a good match for you.
Note: These are not the only agencies you can explore more agencies.
Apply for a travel nursing position
Once you’ve selected an agency, you can start the application process. This typically involves submitting your resume, providing proof of your nursing license and certifications, undergoing background checks, and completing any required documentation. The agency will guide you through the process and help you secure a travel nursing assignment.
Obtain necessary visas and permits
As an internationally trained nurse, you must obtain the appropriate visa and work permits to work in the United States legally. The specific visa category will depend on your qualifications, the duration of your assignment, and other factors. The most common visa for healthcare professionals is the H-1B visa, although there may be other options available. It’s important to consult with an immigration attorney or the appropriate U.S. authorities to ensure you have the correct documentation. In most cases, employers help in the application for visas and work permits.
Prepare for the move
Once you’ve secured a travel nursing assignment and obtained the necessary visas and permits, you’ll need to plan your move to the United States. This may include arranging housing, organizing transportation, and familiarizing yourself with the location where you’ll be working.
Remember that the process of becoming a travel nurse in the United States can vary depending on individual circumstances and changes in immigration and licensure requirements. It’s crucial to stay updated with the latest regulations and consult with the appropriate authorities, such as nursing boards and immigration services, to ensure you have the most accurate and current information.