Travel Nursing FAQs

Travel Nurse Basics
1. What are the requirements for becoming a travel nurse? 
2. What does it take to be a successful travel nurse? 
3. How will a travel nurse job look on my résumé? 
4. Where will I work? 
5. What type of hospital orientation will I receive?
6. How do I handle licensing for assignments outside of my home state?
7. How can I pick a travel company and get started?

Travel Nurse Assignments
1. What is the typical assignment length? 
2. Do I have to sign a long-term contract?
3. What is a full-time schedule for a travel nurse?
4. Where are travel nursing jobs available?
5. Can I bring friends, family members or pets with me when I travel?
6. Are there travel opportunities available for both me and a friend?
7. When can I start my first travel nurse job?
8. Will I have flexibility in choosing travel nurse jobs?
9. If I enjoy a particular assignment facility, can I continue to work there after the initial assignment is complete?
10. How long is the average orientation for travel nurses?

Compensation and Benefits
1. How much will I be paid?
2. Am I reimbursed for travel?
3. Will I receive continuing education? 
4. Do travel nurse companies offer retirement benefits? 
5. Do travel companies offer health care and dental coverage? 
6. Can I receive bonuses? 

Housing for Travel Nurses
1. Will my staffing company pay for housing? 
3. Can I travel with my pet? 
 

Miscellaneous Questions
1. What should I do about my mail? 
2. How should I handle my banking? 
 

Travel Nurse Basics
1. What are the requirements for becoming a travel nurse?

The minimum experience requirements depend on your area of specialty, the facility, unit and sometimes even the location. The facilities we work with have different requirements and preferences, but the majority request a minimum of 18 months of experience. For some specialties such as Med-Surg, Psych and Rehab, the minimum can be as high as two years, and for LPN/LVN the minimum is typically six years.
 

2. What does it take to be a successful travel nurse?

Someone who is flexible, has a positive outlook, is eager to learn new skills and enjoys a new adventure makes an excellent travel nurse.  Travel RN's should have excellent clinical skills and be able to adapt to a new clinical setting quickly and easily.

3. How will a travel nurse job look on my résumé?

Most hospital hiring managers are familiar with the travel health care industry and will view this experience on your résumé as a bonus. Working as a travel nurse demonstrates your dedication to your profession and an ability to adapt effectively in a variety of clinical settings.

4. Where will I work?

A wide range of health care facilities use travel nurses, from prestigious teaching facilities and world-class research facilities, to small community hospitals and health care centers. You can work with your recruiter to find the travel assignment location and type of facility that meet your goals.

5. What type of hospital orientation will I receive?

Each hospital will provide its own orientation program to ensure you learn the specifics of the new facility. Your recruiter will be able to give you details about the orientation process, but this is a great question to ask the hiring managers at potential assignment locations during your interview.

6. How do I handle licensing for assignments outside of my home state?

The best travel nurse companies will provide you with all the necessary information you need to obtain the required licensure for your assignment state before your assignment begins. Each state has its own rules and regulations, which change frequently, so we recommend that you contact the state boards of nursing directly. Find out more information in NurseZone's State Profiles.

7. How can I pick a travel company and get started?

There are a lot of ways to learn about travel nurse companies, including doing research on the Internet or asking for recommendations from current travelers. Start by talking to NurseZone's prestigious travel partners and find out how to get started with your first assignment in our 7 Steps to Becoming a Travel Nurse.

Travel Nurse Assignments
1. What is the typical assignment length?

Most assignments are 13 weeks, but can range anywhere from four weeks to more than a year. It is also possible to extend an assignment at a facility, which many travelers do.

2. Do I have to sign a long-term contract?

No. You will sign a new contract for each assignment, however. The contractual relationship between you and your travel company is generally based on an assignment-by-assignment basis.

3. What is a full-time schedule for a travel nurse?

A 40-hour work week is considered full time for travelers working eight- or 10-hour shifts. For travelers who work 12-hour shifts, 36-hour work weeks are considered full time. Most travel nurse contracts will guarantee a minimum weekly payment for a full-time schedule.

4. Where are travel nursing jobs available?

Assignments are available at a wide variety of health care facilities in every state in the nation. Travel nurse job assignments are offered at small community facilities, as well as at some of the nation's top-rated hospitals and health care facilities in larger metropolitan areas.

5. Can I bring friends, family members or pets with me when I travel?

Certainly. Sharing your adventures with friends and loved ones is a great way to explore the country. Be sure to let your recruiter know so that he or she can help you plan effectively to accommodate friends and family.

6. Are there travel opportunities available for both me and a friend?

Yes! Many nurses travel together as "travel partners" and either work at the same hospital or at different hospitals in the same area. You can either share an apartment or have private apartments in the same building or part of town. Talk to your recruiter to discuss your housing options.

7. When can I start my first travel nurse job?

When you begin your assignment is mostly dependent on when you want to start. Once the travel nursing company has accepted and processed your application, a company recruiter may begin presenting you as a possible candidate to hospitals right away. Some travelers have actually begun an assignment just one week after submitting their application!

8. Will I have flexibility in choosing travel nurse jobs?

Generally, yes. It's important to talk to your recruiter about what you're looking for-specifics about the types of assignments that interest you most, locations, facility types or any other details that are important to you. Your recruiter will work to make sure that your requests are met.

9. If I enjoy a particular assignment facility, can I continue to work there after the initial assignment is complete?

Yes. Many travelers are asked to extend an assignment by the facility and choose to renew their travel contract one or more times. In some cases, a travel nurse can also be offered a position as a full-time employee.

 10. How long is the average orientation for travel nurses? 
A 2-3 day orientation is the norm for a nurse on a travel assignment, although some facilities do have a slightly longer orientation. The expectation is that a travel nurse is experienced and needs to be quickly oriented to specific features of the facility. Also, the facility staff know that the travelers have a shorter orientation and are available for follow up questions and support.

Compensation and Benefits
1. How much will I be paid?

Your pay rate will depend on the facility, location and clinical specialty, but the pay rates are generally higher than for equally experienced permanent staff. New! RNs can receive competitive take home pay rates with our partner companies. Travelers with our partner companies can now see up to 15% more in each paycheck and maximize their travel nursing pay with more take home pay. Quick-start, short-term assignments can pay even higher rates for nurses who are flexible enough to travel immediately.

Apply now or contact our partners for more details on take home pay.

2. Am I reimbursed for travel?

Travelers are generally reimbursed for their round-trip mileage, up to a certain maximum. In most cases, the travel nursing company reimburses the traveler directly. Additional moving expenses are the responsibility of the travel nurse, but are usually tax deductible; check with your local taxing authority or tax preparer for details.

3. Will I receive continuing education?

The top travel nurse companies offer free, continuing education courses to travelers who are on assignment and discounted rates to travelers who are not currently on assignment.

4. Do travel nurse companies offer retirement benefits?

Many of the top travel nurse companies offer 401(k) programs, employer matching and a few even offer immediate eligibility. Be sure to check with your travel company to find out what benefits they offer.

5. Do travel companies offer health care and dental coverage?

Most companies offer health and dental coverage, but the package will vary by company. All of NurseZone's travel partners offer comprehensive health and dental benefits and a choice of health plans. Be sure to get details about the type of coverage offered before you sign a contract.

6. Can I receive bonuses?

Many travel nursing companies offer bonuses, including sign-on, completion and referral bonuses, as well as other incentives. Be sure to ask your staffing company for the details on their particular bonus and incentive programs.

Housing for Travel Nurses
1. Will my staffing company pay for housing?

Yes, the top travel companies will provide you with free accommodations. Our travel partners provide you with free, private housing that's fully furnished and located close to your assignment facility. As with other benefits, each travel company's options will vary, so be sure to find out exactly what they offer.

3. Can I travel with my pet?

Yes, pets are welcome on most travel nursing assignments. In most cases the apartment complex will require a separate pet deposit that you will be responsible for paying.

Miscellaneous Questions
1. What should I do about my mail?

There are a number of ways you can handle your mail:

 

  • Forward your mail with the postal service each time you move to a new travel nurse job.
  • Maintain a permanent address at a friend's or family member's house and have your mail forwarded to you on a regular basis.
  • Rent a private post office box and arrange forwarding on a predefined basis.
2. How should I handle my banking?

Travel nursing companies typically provide direct deposit service, which allows you to continue your relationship with your current bank, and many banks offer online services as well. If you wish, you may also open a new account for each new assignment location.

NurseZone answers your frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the requirements and rewards of travel nursing.