7 Ways to Prepare for a Career in Travel Nursing

7 Ways to Prepare for a Career in Travel Nursing


The nursing field branches off into a series of sub-categories including travel nursing. Like the economy, the medical field experiences supply shortages when demand increases. Sometimes, hospitals and clinics will find that they don’t have enough nursing attendants.

Travel nurses fill those gaps.

We outline seven ways to prepare for a career in travel nursing.

1. Research the Career Option

It’s always a good idea to research a new endeavor before jumping into it with both feet. Obtain the bullet points of the position.

For example, a travel nurse requires two years of nursing experience before applying. If your goal is to become a full-time traveler, you need to experience the basics of the field first.

Even for experienced nurses, it’s important to understand how the medical role works. If you have a family or pets, find out if it’s possible to bring them with you.

2. Network with Other Travel Nurses

A great way to prepare for this nursing role is by networking with other travel nurses. Preparation involves speaking with individuals who have been there and done that.

Sometimes contracts get cut short when the demand tapers off. In that situation, it’s worth knowing what to expect.

Common surprises nurses in this field face include:

  • Missing opportunities due to incomplete paperwork
  • Cultural differences
  • Different electronic medical records system
  • Becoming homesick

By networking with veterans in the field, you can gain insight. Plus, you learn from their experiences.

3. Obtain Necessary Certifications

Like many other fields, golden opportunities can pop up for travel nurses without warning. However, they require applicants to have their paperwork ready and bags practically packed.

Obtaining necessary certifications and keeping paperwork up to date is another way to prepare for an assignment.

Examples of travel nurse certifications include:

  • Certified Post Anesthesia Nurse
  • Certified Nurse Operating Room
  • Certified Medical Surgical Registered Nurse

In addition, paperwork that should remain ready on hand is:

  • Background check release form
  • Immunization records
  • Copies of certifications and licenses
  • References

Remaining organized can land nurses in-demand assignments.

4. Find a Recruiter or Agency

To find assignments in the travel nursing field, find a recruiter. Although the recruiter acts like a middle person, it saves a nurse time and effort.

They find the assignments, process the paperwork, and help their clients obtain opportunities fit for their skills. Keep in mind that a recruiter is not the same as an agency.

A recruiter actively searches for opportunities per client whereas agencies receive opportunities. Then, interested candidates apply for them.

5. Prepare Your Travel Documents

Travel nurses like traveling salespeople and flight attendants remain on the go. Therefore, it’s important to keep travel documents up to date and organized.

Luggage and bag companies manufacture convenient portfolios that fit flight tickets, passports, government-issued identification, and immunization records.

If you pick up one of those, you keep everything together. Thereafter, simply pay attention to ID, license, and certification expiration dates.

6. Research Housing Availability

Whether you sign up with a recruiter or agency, you must take care of the housing component. Sometimes, the professionals who find the assignments will provide leads on housing too. However, it doesn’t hurt to complete some independent research too.

Housing for professionals who take on assignments differs from residential. You must find property managers or accommodations that don’t mind working with tenants on short- and long-term assignments.

For more information on travel nurse housing, take a peek at this guide provided by Hotel Engine.

7. Sign the Contract

The final step before heading out on an assignment is to sign the contract. It’s a good idea to read it before making things official.

Understand the terms of the assignment, salary, and shift hours. Most assignments honor the terms outlined in the contract. But keep in mind that hospitals and medical institutions remain at the mercy of patient inflow and outflow.

In addition, catastrophic events can occur that require nurses to chip in additional hours and shifts.

You should know how the employer handles the unexpected too.


Nurses who travel fill demand at hospitals and other medical settings. Therefore, they remain a vital component of the United States healthcare system. Before signing a contract and packing your bags, prepare for the career option by completing some research. Plus, ensure that your travel documents and housing are in order.

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