A traveling nurse is specifically trained to assist homebound or chronically ill patients or help at hospitals and other medical settings when the staff is in shortage. The main characteristic of this occupation is the traveling to various locations including patients residences. There are some traveling nurses who have to travel between clinics, hospitals as well as schools. Although the basic prerequisite for this occupation is the usual nursing license, some other requirements vary, which are outlined later in the article.
Why are Travel Nurses Important?
Travel nurses have huge significance in the healthcare industry. There are many terminally ill or really old patients who require constant care but are unable to leave homes. For such patients, there is no other option than traveling nurses who then administer medical care as well as monitor their progress and take care of their needs.
Another important job of a travel nurse is to travel to far away schools for medication of specific students. They can work either with any health service organization or independently as well.
How to Become a Travel Nurse?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the education requirements for travel nurses vary for each individual and mostly depend on the kind of employer he/she is looking to be hired by. Most healthcare agencies or individual employers look for hiring registered nurses (RN) or licensed practical nurses (LPN).
For becoming an licensed practical nurse, one must obtain a high school diploma along with a certificate issued by a nursing training program. Be advised that only those nursing training programs are considered authentic that are approved of by a government agency.
In order to become a registered nurse, the candidate has to earn either a bachelors or at least an associates degree in nursing. There are a few traveling nurses who specialize in gerontology or physical rehabilitation by earning a graduate degree, which obviously increases the number of opportunities many times.
As far as the certification is concerned, employers and local jurisdictions both have varying licensure standards for these types of nurses. For being certified as an RN or an LPN, one has to pass an exam, which is commonly referred to as the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). The local and state agencies that govern health related occupations administer the certification for traveling nurses.
Another agency that certifies nurses and other healthcare professionals is National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC). Traveling nurses mostly prefer this since it relates more to their specific profession. NAHC requires an entry test, a membership fee, and involves the candidates finishing 75 hours of specific coursework that concentrates on healthcare pertaining to homebound patients.
Difference Between a Traveling Nurse Job and a Nurse that Doesn’t Travel
Unlike the regular nurses who are restricted to hospital and clinical settings, travel nurses have the opportunity to travel around to different places, observe various healthcare approaches, advance their training and practice, and learn about different equipment and methods.
Nowadays, there is shortage of travel nurses since they are in high demand in many parts of the country. Any candidate interested in finding a travel nursing job should take the first step in pursuing their career by contacting a travel nursing staffing agency who will arrange travel nurse job opportunities.