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8 Steps to Becoming a Travel Nurse

Becoming a travel nurseYou’ve investigated travel nursing and want to give it a try — but how do you get started? Check out the eight steps below for landing your first travel nursing assignment.

  1. Gain at least one year of nursing experience in the specialty you would like to travel in. While one year is required, more experience will make you even more marketable — and will help you have a better idea of the type of travel job you’d like to take. Working at a hospital, assisted living center or even for a home health company are great ways to gain the necessary experience.
  2. Get your license, certifications and medical records up-to-date. If you’ve been thinking about becoming certified as a critical care nurse or emergency nurse, as examples, now is the time. Make sure you also have a current physical and are able to access your immunization records.
  3. Consider locations for your first assignment. Do you have friends and family that you would like to visit? Are there places on your bucket list? Find out if any of your top choices have a lengthy licensure process (California, Florida, etc.). You may need to obtain a new license prior to starting your job search, so come up with several options you would be willing to consider.
  4. Ask friends and other travelers for agency recommendations, and then do your own research. Think about what is most important to you in an agency and a recruiter, and start speaking with different agencies. Have questions you would like to ask ready.
  5. Complete the online application and skills checklists for the agency you have selected. Be prepared to put the last several years of your work experience on the application, and have references ready to contact. Ask people ahead of time and have them ready to receive a call. Start sending your agency copies of your license, certifications and medical records.
  6. Once your profile is ready, start discussing jobs with your recruiter and have her submit your profile. The more open you are to locations, the easier it is to obtain your first travel assignment. Have your recruiter submit your profile to your top choices, but have a few good backup options you will also consider if you don’t land an assignment in your number-one area.
  7. Prepare for a phone interview. Ask your recruiter for an interview guide, and have him practice with you if you have never done a phone interview. During the interview, make sure all of your questions about the unit, schedule, time-off requests and patient ratios are answered. Once you have interviewed, be prepared to make a decision about the position within 24 hours of receiving an offer.
  8. Begin the credentialing process with the agency. Once a position has been offered and you have accepted, your agency will help you start the credentialing process so you can get to work in just a few days or weeks.

Do you have more questions about becoming a travel nurse? Feel free to leave them in the comment section below, or reach out to one of our recruiters at 855.289.9766.

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