Career Development

What Does a Travel Nurse Do?

Find out what a travel nurse does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a travel nurse.

A travel nurse is a registered nurse who moves from one place to another, temporarily taking jobs in different healthcare facilities. They often do this for the purpose of gaining new experiences and expanding their knowledge base.

Travel nurses are commonly used by hospitals as temporary replacements for full-time staff during times of high turnover or when there’s an increase in patient volume. They may also be hired by hospitals that need extra staffing but can’t afford to hire full-time employees on a permanent basis.

Travel Nurse Job Duties

A travel nurse typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Communicating with patients and their families to ensure proper care is being provided
  • Providing emotional support to patients, including assisting them with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing or feeding themselves
  • Preparing patients for tests or procedures by cleaning their skin, shaving areas as needed, and applying ointments or lotions as directed by a physician
  • Documenting patient care activities such as administering medication or changing bandages, using computer equipment such as laptops or tablet computers
  • Providing direct patient care such as administering medications or administering tests to diagnose patient conditions
  • Educating patients about their illnesses and treatment plans in order to help them make informed decisions about their care
  • Coordinating with other medical staff members to ensure that patients receive high quality care from start to finish
  • Preparing reports summarizing patient care activities for nurses’ rounds or meetings with administration
  • Preparing patients for surgery by washing skin with antibacterial soap and applying sterile drapes over the operating area to reduce infection risk

Travel Nurse Salary & Outlook

Travel nurses’ salaries vary depending on their level of education and experience, the company they work for, and the location of the job.

  • Median Annual Salary: $105,000 ($50.48/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $135,000 ($64.9/hour)

The employment of travel nurses is expected to grow faster than average over the next decade.

Demand for travel nurses will stem from the increasing demand for healthcare services. As the large baby-boom population ages and people live longer, demand for healthcare services is expected to increase. Travel nurses will be needed to provide coverage for hospitals so that permanent nurses can maintain their regular schedules.

Related: In-Depth Travel Nurse Salary Guide

Travel Nurse Job Requirements

A travel nurse typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: Travel nurses are typically required to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a field such as nursing, pre-medicine, biology or another related field. Some facilities may accept candidates with an associate’s degree or a diploma in nursing.

Training & Experience: Many travel nurses will receive on-the-job training from their new employer. This training will help the nurse learn the specific procedures and protocols of the facility. The training will also help the nurse become familiar with the other members of the medical team.

Certifications & Licenses: Travel nurses don’t need certifications or licenses to work. However, some travel nurses opt to get additional certifications and licenses to increase their job options and potentially earn a higher salary.

Travel Nurse Skills

Travel nurses need the following skills in order to be successful:

Adaptability: Travel nurses often work in different locations and with different teams each time they travel. Being adaptable means being able to adjust to new environments and personalities quickly. This can help you build strong relationships with your coworkers and improve your overall experience as a travel nurse.

Communication: Communication is the act of conveying information to another person. As a travel nurse, you may be communicating with patients, other medical professionals and your family. It’s important to be able to communicate effectively in all situations.

Compassion: Compassion is the ability to feel empathy for others. As a travel nurse, you may work with patients who are experiencing a variety of health issues. It’s important to be compassionate to your patients and their families, as well as your coworkers. This can help you build strong relationships with others and make your time as a travel nurse more enjoyable.

Critical thinking: Critical thinking is the ability to make quick decisions based on the information you have. As a travel nurse, you may be placed in a new situation every day. You may need to make quick decisions about patient care, treatment plans and other aspects of your job. Having strong critical thinking skills can help you make the best decisions for your patients and your career.

Independence: Independence is the ability to complete tasks on your own. As a travel nurse, you may be working in a new location every few weeks, so it’s important to be able to complete your job duties independently. Independence can also help you navigate a new area and find resources you need to complete your work.

Travel Nurse Work Environment

Travel nurses work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, and nursing homes. They may work in urban or rural areas, in small towns or large cities. They may work in a variety of shifts, including days, nights, weekends, and holidays. Travel nurses typically work 12-hour shifts, although some may work 8-hour or 10-hour shifts. Travel nurses may be required to work overtime, on call, or on short notice. They may be required to work in high-pressure situations and to deal with a variety of people, including patients, families, and other health care professionals.

Travel Nurse Trends

Here are three trends influencing how travel nurses work. Travel nurses will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Growth of Telehealth

The growth of telehealth is a trend that is quickly changing the way that healthcare is delivered. By using technology, patients can now receive care from doctors and nurses who are located miles away.

This trend is having a major impact on the travel nurse industry, as more and more hospitals are beginning to utilize telehealth services. Travel nurses who are able to provide these services will be in high demand, as they can help to reduce costs and improve patient outcomes.

Patient Advocacy Will Be More Important

As patients become more involved in their own care, travel nurses will need to develop skills in patient advocacy. This includes helping patients understand their rights and responsibilities as well as helping them to communicate with hospital staff.

Travel nurses who are able to effectively communicate with patients will be in high demand, as hospitals look for professionals who can help to ensure that patients are receiving the best possible care. In addition, travel nurses who are able to advocate for patients will be more likely to be hired by hospitals in the future.

More Focus on Patient Satisfaction

As hospitals focus more on patient satisfaction, travel nurses will need to adapt their practices to meet this new demand.

In order to achieve high levels of patient satisfaction, travel nurses will need to be familiar with new technologies and techniques that can help to improve patient experiences. They will also need to be able to work effectively with other members of the healthcare team to create a positive environment for patients.

How to Become a Travel Nurse

A travel nurse career can be a great way to see the country and experience different cultures. However, it’s important to plan ahead and make sure you have all the necessary qualifications before applying for jobs.

The first step is to become certified as a registered nurse (RN). This will allow you to practice nursing anywhere in the country. Next, you should get certified in your specialty area. This will show employers that you have the skills and knowledge needed to provide care in that area.

Once you have these two certifications, you can start looking for jobs as a travel nurse. There are many websites that list available positions, so check them often for new opportunities. You can also network with other nurses who are traveling, as they may know about openings that aren’t advertised online.

Related: How to Write a Travel Nurse Resume

Advancement Prospects

There are many ways to advance your career as a travel nurse. One way is to specialize in a certain area of nursing. This could involve getting a certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics, geriatrics, or oncology. Specializing will make you more attractive to potential employers and can lead to higher pay. Another way to advance your career is to take on more responsibility. This could involve becoming a charge nurse or a nurse manager. You could also advance your career by becoming a nurse educator or a nurse consultant. And, of course, you could always go back to school to get your master’s degree or even your PhD.

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