Looking at all of these different blogs and articles about local traveling nurses, you often find yourself asking yourself, can you be a local travel nurse? Or can I be a travel nurse in my hometown? Well, the straight answer is yes. But the real question here is, could you handle it? There are a lot of cons and pros of local contract nurse staffing, but being close to your family and friends is always a big plus on that. Let’s see the qualifications needed to be a traveling nurse!
What qualifications do you need to be a traveling nurse?
- Get your nursing license
The majority of travel nurses are registered nurses. You have to get your bachelor’s or associate’s degree and pass your NCLEX-RN Examination in order to obtain a nursing license.
Though having a bachelor’s degree is not exactly necessary, having one would find you more opportunities available and it would be easier to get the travel nursing job that you want.
- Get some nursing experience
Most new grad nurses need close to a year of experience in an acute care environment before you could apply and be a travel nurse. Travel nursing jobs in the ICU, and some other specialties often require an additional year of experience.
Having as much experience and skills are highly valued for travel jobs.
- Complete nursing certifications
Basic Life Support (BLS) and Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) are only some of the certificates that you could get, sometimes they are required, sometimes they are not, depending on where your assignment would be. Having all these kinds of certifications opens up the doors to more job opportunities for you.
- Apply with a reputable travel nursing company
One of the most important travel nurse requirements is that you must work with a travel nursing agency. It won’t cost you anything to be a part of an agency really. They represent you and they take care of the majority of your job hunting and employment details.
- Work with a recruiter
Once your application has been reviewed by the travel nursing company, your travel nursing recruiter will serve as your guide through all of that job hunting process and travel nursing requirements.
Your recruiter is basically your career advisor and partner, so you should not be afraid to ask questions. You should also tell them what you want out of your career, and they will help you achieve them.
- Apply for a new state nursing license
If you are planning on working outside your home state, you need to obtain your proper state nursing license. Even if you are planning on staying locally, it wouldn’t hurt to have all of these options in case you want to try something new.
If your home state and the state you want to work in both participate in the Nurse Licensure Compact, then it would be a much easier process. If not, then your agency would help you and tell you what to do.
- Pick your assignments
Your recruiter does give you options, you could deny an assignment if you do not feel comfortable in that state or area. Once your recruiter gets the gist of where you want to be located, they will submit your candidate packet to the employer.
- Participate in a phone interview
Since you are always on the go, phone interviews are going to be quite common. Your recruiter will make the original connection, set up an appointment for the interview, but you are the one going to be doing the rest.
- Sign a travel nurse contract
If and when the interview goes well, you might be asked to sign a contract. Most contracts range from 4-13 weeks and your pay would be depending on the hours that you’ll be working.
- Choose your free housing options and get ready to relocate
There are 2 housing options when it comes to your housing, either the travel nursing company that you signed with will provide your housing, or they give you a stipend every month and you look for your own housing.
Once you have decided, you could start packing, and make plans for your first local traveling assignments!
Local Travel Nursing Tips:
- Choose an assignment that will give you a unique experience
- Get to know the locals
- Find a job you will find fulfilling
- Choose an agency that offers full benefits
- Pack light and shop local
- Visiting loved ones
- Choose housing that is close to your assignment
- Think in the long-term
- HAVE FUN!!
Being a local travel nurse helps you prevent yourself from being homesick. Being a nurse, in general, is such a rewarding job. If you are thinking of becoming a local travel nurse, go for it! The possibilities are endless.