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How to get started in travel nursing

RNnetwork - how to get started in travel nursing - image of travel nurse completing her credentialing online

If you’re thinking about making the jump to travel nursing, hurray! You’ll get to experience all sorts of hospitals, get to know tons of great nurses and patients, and make a difference in all of their lives. The best travel nursing agencies go to work for you to make the process as easy as possible, but here are the five basics on how to get started in travel nursing.

1. Do your research

First, you’ll want to do some research on travel nursing agencies. You’ll want to find one that has a good national reputation (you could be hundreds of miles away from home, after all!) and one that has the financial stability to provide you all the resources you need.

Once you’ve chosen a travel nursing agency, the first step is getting connected to a recruiter. This recruiter will walk you through the original application, they’ll find you your jobs, and they’ll work with you to make sure all of your jobs are seamless. Your recruiter will learn more about you– what your experience in nursing is, what kind of medical unit you’re working in, and they’ll find out about your goals and hopes for travel nursing.

2. Start the application process

Next, you’ll fill out an online application that will look more thoroughly at your skills and experience. You’ll also need to provide two professional references. Remember, a good recruiter will be there to help you through every step of the application process.

Your recruiter will talk with you about which jobs you are qualified for, and they’ll help you figure out which jobs are the best fit for you. Then, your recruiter will create a profile, which you’ll use to apply to jobs. After this step, a nurse manager will call you for an interview. If you get an offer, you’ll have 24-48 hours to accept or decline the offer.

How to become a travel nurse: a beginner's guide

3. Follow through with credentialing

You’re almost there! Once you have a job, you’ll need the proper licensing and credentialing to work in your new location. Travel nursing agencies will match you with a credentialing specialist who will walk you through the process. Though it is indeed a process, the good news is that most of your initial paperwork will be valid for a year. If your home license is in a state that’s part of the enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact, also known as a “compact state,” your license will open up assignment possibilities in 29 other states.

4. Pick out your dream location

Now for the fun stuff! The travel nursing agency will help you with all of your travel and housing logistics. They’ll help you book any travel, and they’ll find you a safe and comfortable place to live during your assignment. At RNnetwork, the housing specialists are regional experts, so they’ll also answer any questions about the new place you’ll be working. They’ll also make sure you’re in a good neighborhood that’s close to your facility, or to the amenities you enjoy most on your off time.

5. Stay connected to your recruiter

We hope all of your assignments will be perfect, but if they’re not, the right agency will have your back and get things resolved quickly. For example, RNnetwork has a 24/7 emergency hotline for any issues you encounter. Plus, if you have any clinical questions, you can speak with an in-house clinical nurse manager. Finally, know that your recruiter is always a phone call away if you have any other travel questions, or just want to talk and connect.

Samantha Wines, a Senior Recruiter at RNnetwork, put it best:

There has never been a better time to get out there, see things on your bucket list, while going into these amazing hospitals all across the country that really need you.

If you have any other questions about the travel nursing process,  give us a call at 800.866.0407. We’re happy to talk it through.

About the author

Kathleen Stone

Kathleen Stone is a writer for RNnetwork from Salt Lake City, Utah. In her spare time, she loves going to the desert, trying new foods and being with family.


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