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Ask a Travel Nurse

Jennifer Traub

Answers you seek, from a community you trust

Our Gypsy Nurse mentors are here to help guide you to the information that you are seeking. They are happy to answer any questions you may have. If you have any interest in traveling as a medical professional, they are here to help. Answered by our experienced Gypsy Nurse Mentors, you can explore our FAQs here, or ask your own question below.

Are there jobs out there for travel nurses who do not have a BSN but only have an ADN?

I would advise going the BSN route. It is possible to get jobs with just an ADN, but it is becoming more and more difficult and will only get worse in the future. You will be a more attractive and competitive candidate if you just pursue the BSN.

What do I need to know to be a travel nurse?

What does it take to be a successful travel nurse?

Flexibility, positive outlook, adventure. Travel nurses should have excellent clinical skills and be able to adapt to new settings quickly.  Check out these tips from other Travelers.

What kinds of Facilities can I work at?

A wide range of healthcare facilities uses travel nurses, from prestigious teaching facilities to small community hospitals, outpatient surgery centers, clinics, and much more. You can search for jobs by keyword/specialty/etc. here.

How will several travel jobs look on my résumé?

Most hiring staff is familiar with the travel industry and will see this as a positive experience on your résumé. Working as a travel nurse proves your dedication to your profession and your ability to adapt quickly.

I still haven't received the onboarding stuff…. How long does it usually take to get that?

Unfortunately, I do not have that information as each agency is different. I would try calling your recruiter and check to see when you can expect this.

What type of orientation will I receive?

A 1-3 day orientation is the average for an assignment. The expectation is that a travel nurse is experienced and ready. Ask A Travel Nurse: Travel Nurse Orientation

How do I obtain licensing for assignments?

Travel companies will provide you with the information you need to obtain the required license for your assigned state. Each state has its own rules and regulations, so The Gypsy Nurse recommends that you contact the state board of nursing directly. This is a cheat-sheet for licensing time-frames to use as a reference: State by State RN Licensing Time-Frame Guide.  Here are some additional licensing resources: Licensing.

How to choose a travel company and get started?

Choosing the ‘right’ agency is very individual.  Check these TIPS to get started. Then browse through our Sponsors to get started.

What is the typical assignment length?

A typical travel nurse contract is 13 weeks. Assignments can range anywhere from 4 weeks to up to a year. A Contract Extension is also possible, which many travelers choose if they enjoy the hospital and location. The thing to remember is that you – the traveler – are in control.

Do I have to sign a long-term travel nurse contract?

No, You will sign a new travel nurse contract for each assignment. Find out more about contracts here by reading through these articles.

What is a full-time schedule for a travel nurse?

A travel nurse generally works just as a full-time staff member just for a limited term. A 36-40 hour workweek is considered full time for travelers. Most travel nurse contracts will guarantee a minimum weekly payment for a full-time schedule.

Where are travel nursing jobs available?

Travel assignments are available in every state. Job availability is dependent on several factors (1) Specialty (2) Flexibility (3) Hospital Need.  Knowing where and when you are willing to go is key to finding a compatible travel nurse contract.

Can I bring family and/or pet with me on assignment?

Yes, You may have to pay additional for an extra bedroom if you need more than one and a Pet deposit. Most Companies provide a one-bedroom or a studio apartment. There are many nurses that travel with a spouse, friend, or pet.

If I enjoy a particular assignment facility, can I continue to work thereafter the initial assignment is complete?

Yes. Many travelers extend an assignment. If you are considering going full-time with a hospital, check with your recruiter/company to see if there are any non-compete clauses.

When can I start my first travel nurse job?

When Do you want to start? It’s possible to start a travel nurse contract in as little as 1 week after submission. Be prepared by knowing when and where you want to travel.

How much do travel nurses earn?

The pay rate will depend on the facility, location, and specialty, but the rates are generally higher than for equally experienced permanent staff.  Additionally, it’s important to note that travelers do not typically receive any shift differentials or paid time off. Time and half (overtime) or double time (holidays) should be written into the contract. Read more about travel pay HERE.

Will I receive travel pay, bonuses, healthcare benefits, 401k?

Agency recruiters are the best resource to learn about benefits offered and if there is any effect on the payment package if benefits are selected. Travelers are generally reimbursed up to a certain maximum. Every staffing agency has different benefits available. Understanding the bill rate and how it affects your pay is very important. Some agencies offer 401K to their travelers.

What do I need to make sure is in my travel nurse contract?

What do I need to make sure is in my travel nurse contract? Whatever your needs are, i.e. guaranteed hours and time off and pay. It’s important to remember that items that are agreed upon verbally must also be reflected in the final written contract.

Will I receive continuing education?

Some companies offer free, CE courses to travelers who are on assignment, ask your recruiter. Ongoing certifications are generally the responsibility of the Traveler.

Will my company pay for housing?

You will generally have two options for housing. (1) Agency provided Housing (2) Housing stipend to secure your own housing.

This is a wide subject as each Nurse has different issues. You might like our Top Tax Questions and I recommend that you first understand the Tax Home and consult a tax expert for specific tax-related advice.  There is a multitude of tax-related articles that you can browse through on the site.

Calendar Year at the Facility

Is calendar year January 1 to December 31st, or is it one year of being at the facility? For example, I started working at the facility on March 15, 2020, and I’m looking to extend my contract until May 2021. Is March 15, 2021, considered a year?

  • It’s 12 months in 24 months. Go to TravelTax.com for a more descriptive understanding (on their travel tax page), So it’s not Jan to Dec. It’s from when you start to that year mark. Then you have to stay away about 8-12 months from that metropolitan area.

If you are looking for a community, join one (or more) of our many Travel Nurse Groups for even more support and resources!

Our Travel Nurse Guide will help you become a savvy and well-prepared travel nurse in a user-friendly, step-by-step process. If you follow these steps it will prepare you for success in your travel nursing career. It’s recommended that you complete the Travel Nurse Guide in the order in which it’s presented.

Ask a question

Do you have a question about the travel nursing profession or need advice from an experienced travel nurse? Submit your question here and we will have one of our Gypsy Nurse Mentors or a member of our Gypsy Nurse Nation do their best to answer it in a timely fashion. By clicking “Send” you are agreeing to The Gypsy Nurse User Agreement and Privacy Policy**.




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    ** The Ask A Travel Nurse feature is provided as a convenience. By submitting your question, you acknowledge that your question and contact information will be provided to our network of third party mentors and/or some community members.  Any responses provided to you are from third parties that are not affiliated with The Gypsy Nurse and The Gypsy Nurse assumes no responsibility for, and does not review or verify the accuracy, completeness or legality of the responses.