Travel Nurse Job Overview
For many experienced nurses, taking assignments as a travel nurse is a wonderful way to gain new clinical skills, build their resume, and earn high wages. Nurses who want maximum career flexibility and enjoy traveling and meeting new people find that travel nursing is a perfect fit. The length of a travel nurse's contract can vary from as short as two weeks to as much as a year, although the average contract length is about six months. Many travel nursing jobs do not offer benefits like insurance and retirement accounts, but some travel nurse agencies have taken steps to fill that void and offer those perks to their contractors. On the plus side, travel nurses make significantly more than staff nurses employed by healthcare facilities.
The daily tasks of a travel nurse typically include:
- Assessing patients for signs of improvement or deterioration
- Performing treatment procedures as ordered by healthcare providers
- Administering medications
- Monitoring health status equipment like telemetry units
- Charting patient health information and status reports
- Consulting with healthcare providers about changes in a patient's status
- Interpreting laboratory results and communicating them as needed
- Counseling and educating patients and their families
Generally, a travel nurse performs all the roles of a traditional clinical nurse. Many travel nurses are specialists in critical care nursing and other in-demand specialties.
Travel Nurse Job Education Requirements
Travel nurse jobs require a Registered Nurse credential at a bare minimum. Some schools offer an associate degree or certificate program that prepares candidates to take the licensing examination, but most programs require a four-year bachelor's degree program. In addition, travel nurses usually have at least two years of clinical experience before they are qualified for travel assignments. It's also desirable for travel nurses to have achieved additional education and certification in Critical Care, Medical-Surgical nursing, Pain Management or Perianesthesia Nursing.
Travel Nurse Job Market
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, growth in demand for all healthcare fields is expected to approach 22 percent in the coming decade. Registered nurses, in particular, can expect to see significant demand for their services. Travel nurses, due to the temporary nature of their assignments, have little difficulty finding positions.
Travel Nurse Job Salary Information
The median salary for RNs is $66,330, with the top 10 percent earning $96,000 or more. Travel nurses can expect a premium of 25 percent or more over regular hourly wages, a per diem allowance for meals and housing, and often, cash bonuses.
Gaining Steam in Year One
For the first year, many drivers may find themselves being assigned loads that are less than favorable. Many trucking and freight companies allow the drivers that have worked for the company for an extended amount of time to receive first choice in driving assignments. First year drivers may have to drive to desolate locations, into New York City or Canada, and have pickups or deliveries with undesirable schedules.
This can be typical of trucking companies, as first year hires must work their way up in the company and prove his or her skills and reliability. Keeping to a delivery schedule is essential for trucking and freight companies to keep client contracts, so providing services in a timely and reliable manner will help the first year trucker build up a positive reputation, and possibly allow first years to be dispatched better assignments.
The one highlight of receiving driving assignments is taking the road less traveled, literally. Driving is the one way to view the countryside, big cities, and hundreds of American suburbs all at once. Stopping in a variety of cities throughout the country will help gain a glimpse into life in different regions around the U.S. and is an experience that is like no other. No other career, other than anthropologists, travels the world and experiences other groups and their lives on a regular manner. Truck drivers receive one of the best crash-course educations on daily life around the U.S. through his or her freight routes.
While on the road, it is easy to become detached from the daily life that he or she once knew. However, new technology makes it easier to keep in contact with family members, so having that much needed connection with them on a regular basis is entirely possible. Keeping a cellular phone is essential to the job for emergencies with the truck or delivery, contact with the dispatch room, and for contacting the shipper or consignee.
So every driver should have a cellular phone within days of becoming a full time driver. Calling family while at a rest is a small, but important method to being there for family while in a different state. Many truck stops have several amenities like showers, dining areas, and wireless internet and using it for social media or video messaging is the next best thing to actually being able to go home at night. Messaging and phone calls will allow first year drivers to ease into their heavy driving schedule and fight feelings of homesickness.
Making plans to integrate into family life during days off is also a requirement for a healthy transition into long term OTR driving. It is easy to want to rest on days off, but getting up and out with the rest of the family and re-adapting quickly will keep life running smoothly on off days while on Hometime.