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Life As a Travel Nurse

Posted by travel | November 12, 2012 | Nursing Careers

The life of a travel nurse is always going to be changing and it is important to know what to expect once you become one. This guide will help you to understand what a travel nurse makes as far as compensation, and what they do compared to a regular nursing position. There is no doubt this is one of the faster growing career fields in the health care industry, and there is a reason why. It can be a challenging job at times, but the benefits tend to outweigh the disadvantages of the job.

Day To Day Job Duties

A travel nurse may have to do any number of things during the day to ensure that they meet the goals of their employers and their patients. One example is when you work in a hospital. You will usually have 12 hour shifts and be required to keep track of a number of patients. Your day will begin with the nurse that served the shift before you giving you all of the information on the patients. From there you will have to go and introduce yourself to the patients and let them know how they are doing. This is also where you tell them you will be taking care of them for a while.

During your shift you may have to administer medications and deal with any other things that may come up. For instance, there could be a time when a person will start to have trouble breathing or code. You have to be able to think on your feet and act quickly and effectively to ensure this person has a chance to bounce back from it. You may also have to communicate with other departments in certain cases and deal with the discharge of patients.

On top of all of the stuff you have to deal with at your place of business, you are also going to be dealing with your agency that got you this particular job as well. It can be frustrating at times when the rules are different at the place you are working when compared to your agency standards. Obviously you will need to make the adjustments in order to comply with both sides and still maintain appropriate patient care.

Finding An Agency

Once you get passed the requirements to become a travel nurse, you should find an agency that will make things a lot easier on you as far as actually finding work. Most of the time these agencies will only hire nurses that have at least one year of experience after they have become an RN. Every agency is going to run things differently, and it is important to find the one that matches your career goals. Some will work with contracts and some won’t. Some will pay more than others and they will provide better job opportunities.

The obvious benefit of being a travel nurse is that you will be able to see the country and possibly the world. It is incredibly easy to go on small size vacations when you go places to work as a travel nurse. Some agencies will even pay for your relocation, your housing, and everything that you need when you go to a certain area. I have seen up to $2,000-$3,000 just to take one assignment. It all depends on the need and how many people are willing to take that assignment. One disadvantage of being a travel nurse is that other nurses might find out that you make more than them because you are a travel nurse. This can cause jealousy and will make your job a bit harder at times.

Average Salary of a Travel Nurse

The salary is going to depend on where you live and how often you are working, so instead of giving you some yearly number, I will instead give you a more realistic hourly figure. Most of the time traveling nurses can make anywhere from $25 to $40 an hour, it just depends on the amount of experience you have and the job that you are taking on. If you live in California or places that have higher costs of living, you can expect to see a higher number than the minimum. My final advice to anyone looking to become a travel nurse is to take a smaller assignment first to see if you like it. Then you can start to take on more work consistently once you know you are right for this type of work.