You want to travel the world, make your own schedule, vacation whenever & wherever you want while saving lives and making six figures? That is the glamorous portrayal of travel nursing, and for the most part, it is true. The only drawback is not knowing where to start. I’m here to help and share with you steps on where to begin:
Step 1: Graduate with your LPN, ADN, or BSN.
Step 2: Successfully pass the NCLEX exam to get your nursing license.
Step 3: Get experience in a specialty you are passionate about for at least 1-2 years (this is typically the requirement of most travel companies). And no, you do not need to do MedSurg for 1-2 years before accepting your dream job.
Step 4: Talk to multiple recruiters (within reason, 2-3) before picking someone you trust. It is essential to find an experienced, trustworthy, and transparent recruiter.
Step 5: Accept an offer that makes YOU happy! I cannot emphasize this enough, and you will hear plenty from the peanut gallery as to “oh, that’s all you got?” or “you could have done better.” No matter what they might say, it is about you and your happiness.
Step 6: Take the leap and start living your dream life. It is normal to be nervous, anxious, and excited. You are not going to know everything; the best nurses dedicated themselves to a life of education! Ask questions, smile, make friends, be professional and, most importantly, enjoy the journey!
Additional travel nurse tips & hacks:
- Always have an updated resume, certifications, and the required licenses for the state(s) you wish to work. Save your receipts & ask your recruiters about reimbursements.
- Gain as much experience as possible, not just in years but also in your day-to-day. What do I mean by that? Take the sickest patients, get out of your comfort zone, volunteer to float, cross-train to other units, do all the in-house training offered, etc. These skills will prepare you for travel nursing, trust me!
- Have some financial stability, you don’t need millions, but some money in your savings and credit cards for emergencies will help in the event if a contract is canceled, when looking for housing or if something unexpected comes up.
Oh, one more thing. Please don’t get too caught up in other’s advice or their story. Everyone’s story is different; create your own: “Do not follow where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” If this is your dream or goal, go for it, you won’t regret it!