There is no doubt that one of the most appealing career choices for nurses today is that of a travel nurse. A sense of adventure, the flexibility to explore various locations, and the potential for a higher salary are some of the reasons that attract many nurses to choose this career path. However, securing a travel nursing job can be complex and challenging, and it requires a unique combination of skills and strategies. In this article, we will break down strategies that can help you secure a travel nurse position effectively.
Strengthening Nursing Skills and Credentials
Like any other profession, travel nursing also demands specific skills and credentials. Apart from having the necessary nursing degree or diploma, it's crucial to gather industry experience. Most employers prefer hiring travel nurses with at least one year of experience in their specialist area. During this time, you should aim to gain experience in a variety of nursing duties and become comfortable in high-stress situations.
The additional skills can add to your resume and make it stand out when applying for travel nursing jobs. Examples include experience in specialized fields of nursing, possessing additional certification in areas such as Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) or Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), and a willingness to move and adapt to new locations quickly. Working with a staffing and recruitment agency is also recommended. You can browse open assignments all over the country in one convenient place and find the jobs you're interested in.
Understanding the Basics of Travel Nursing
The first step towards securing a travel nurse position is to understand what it entails. Travel nursing is a unique field of nursing where professionals are hired to fill in temporary nursing roles across different locations, often in places experiencing staffing shortages. These jobs typically last for about 13 weeks but can be extended depending on the needs of the facility. Owing to the temporary nature of the job, it's necessary for travel nurses to adapt quickly to new environments and care protocols. They often have little time to familiarize themselves with the new setting before they start their duties.
Flexibility and adaptability are key qualities a successful travel nurse should possess. If you're considering taking up travel nursing, it's important to review the benefits and challenges it presents. Benefits include higher pay, free housing, and the opportunity to travel. Challenges may involve the adaptability required, being far from family, and the potential need for additional licensure. Upon weighing these factors, if travel nursing still seems like an appealing choice, you can proceed to the next strategy.
Gaining Representation Through a Travel Nursing Agency
As previously mentioned, travel nursing agencies play a major role in a travel nurse's career. These agencies serve as intermediaries between potential employers and travel nurses. They assist in job search, housing arrangements, travel considerations, and contract negotiations, thus easing the process for travel nurses. It's key to select an agency that aligns with your career goals and personal needs. In the process of selecting an agency, you should consider factors such as the size of the agency, the locations they staff, the benefits they offer, and the degree of support they can provide.
Reading reviews and getting referrals from other travel nurses can also provide valuable input. Joining nursing communities on social networking sites will allow you to gain insights about recommended travel nursing agencies. Once you have an agency representing you, maintain open communication with your recruiter. Discuss your priorities and needs with them thoroughly, keeping them apprised of any changes. Transparency can help your recruiter find opportunities that suit your needs.
Evaluating Potential Assignments
Effectively evaluating potential assignments is another aspect of securing a travel nurse position. When considering an assignment, you should look at the complete package including pay rate, location, benefits, and the duration of the assignment. Take note of the cost of living in the location, the reputation of the facility, and work conditions. As a travel nurse, your ultimate aim is to find an assignment that aligns with your long-term career goals and lifestyle preferences.
An ideal assignment is not only about choosing the one with the highest pay but also finding a balance between professional development and personal contentment. When evaluating potential assignments, don't hesitate to ask questions to get all the information you need. Inquiring about things like overtime pay, insurance, and housing options, can make it easier to make informed decisions. It would also be useful to request for a copy of the contract to review the fine print.
Acquiring Additional Certifications
Additional certifications can open more opportunities for travel nurses. It increases your marketability and can give you an edge over other applicants. Certifications demonstrate a level of competency and dedication to your work. They show that you are willing to invest time and effort to improve your skills and knowledge sphere. In addition to this, these certifications often come with increased pay. However, acquiring certifications does take time and requires a financial investment. Research well and identify which certifications would be most beneficial for you and your career.
Building a Strong Resume and Interview Skills
Your resume is the first key to securing a travel nursing job. A powerful resume that accurately reflects your skills, experiences, and qualifications can make a lasting impression on potential employers. Include precise details, such as the number of beds in your previous units, the patient ratio, and the cases you have handled. Having a strong professional network can aid in gaining references, which could strengthen your application.
Providing references from past managers or doctors who can vouch for your skills, performance, and adaptability in several environments can present a stronger case for your candidacy. Honing interview skills is vital too. Since most interviews happen over the phone or via video calls, you need to master the art of communicating your skills, experiences, and passion without the advantage of face-to-face interaction. Being well-prepared, asking insightful questions, and showing enthusiasm for the role can leave a positive impression on the interviewer.
Flexibility and Open-Mindedness
Being flexible and keeping an open mind can greatly benefit travel nurses. Whether it's regarding locations, assignments, working hours, or job settings, showing your adaptability will make you more desirable to potential employers. At the beginning of your travel nursing career, you may not always get your desired location or the best assignment. Keep in mind each assignment provides experience and opens the door for future opportunities.
Be open to considering assignments that are not your first choice. Often, less popular assignments tend to have higher remunerations. Being open-minded also means being prepared for unexpected circumstances. A significant part of travel nursing involves stepping out of your comfort zone and embracing unforeseen challenges that each new location and assignment provides.
As you can see, securing a travel nurse position requires careful planning, adequate preparation, a thorough understanding of the industry, and a commitment to ongoing professional development. It's about eyeing the right opportunities, standing out from the crowd, and demonstrating your value to potential employers. Be sure to research, leverage your network, build a strong resume, and ultimately, stay flexible throughout the process. The adventure of travel nursing awaits those who are ready to explore it.