Travel nurses are nurses who are free to live and practice in different places within the country to fill in short term employment gaps. They are usually paid an excellent salary and can take up assignments according to their preferences. Travel nurses may take up short-term or long-term contracts at the time of their hiring.
What it takes to be a travel nurse
To become a travel nurse, you need to have at least 1.5 years of clinical experience and valid licensure in the state where you plan to work. Some countries also provide multi-state nursing licensure. However, not every nurse is suitable to become a travel nurse. Great travel nurses seem to have similar characteristics that make them outstanding at what they do. Here’s a list of these traits:
1. Flexibility and Adaptability
Travel nurses are required to move between patient homes, hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities. You need to continuously engage with unfamiliar people, work overtime as well as night shifts, and work in some unconventional circumstances. You might also have to work in various departments like women’s health, crown pediatrics, intensive-care room, and so on. The more flexible you are to adjust according to the needs of the patients and the healthcare facilities, the more likely you are to thrive in this career.
2. A Love For Travel
Travel nurses are naturally required to embrace an appetite for travel and adventure.
You have to undertake a lot of travel, which means you may have to stay away from friends and family for an extended time. An understanding spouse and adventurous offsprings can make your job a never-ending family adventure. The best part is that you are getting paid to travel!
3. Strong Work Ethic
As a travel nurse, you have to demonstrate a strong work ethic. It means performing your job to the best of your ability. Cultivate self-discipline and practice punctuality. Develop the habit of being on time for your shifts. Acting with integrity, that is, behaving consistently, is equally essential. Also, discipline, dedication, and determination all contribute to your work ethics.
A travel nurse has to be confident in her abilities. Working in different places and with unfamiliar people should not make you reserved or timid. Instead, you should possess the ability to put yourself out there and be confident. This does not mean that an introvert cannot become a travel nurse. It merely means you should not hang back from taking up your turn as a leader.
Professionalism in nursing requires you to help patients and co-workers, listen actively, and communicate compassionately. Dressing appropriately and grooming yourself can make you look reliable and trustworthy. Keep your nursing knowledge up-to-date so that you can offer advice and guidance in case of emergencies. Be confident and accountable for your actions and admit your mistakes when you make them.
6. Excellent Communication Skills
A travel nurse should be able to communicate efficiently to his/her recruiter about the kind of jobs they’re looking for and also to team members once they get placed. Fostering relationships with the patients as well as the co-workers is extremely important to perform the job efficiently. Communicate openly with your colleagues and participate in making informed decisions as a group.
7. Desire To Learn
Traveling around the country from one assignment to another allows you to practice and learn in various healthcare facilities. You will be continually exposed to innovative techniques, modern technologies, and new ways of doing things. An insatiable desire to learn will benefit you greatly in diversifying your skill set and area of expertise.
8. High Emotional Intelligence
Keeping your emotions in check can benefit you greatly as a travel nurse. Your job can bring you joyful highs or traumatic lows. You should possess a high level of emotional intelligence to deal with such scenarios. Recognize and accept your emotions and know how they can affect you. Patients often look up to your emotional strength to aid them along.
Like any other job, there may be times when you have to work with people who don’t align with your personality. However, the most sought-after nurses are those who handle their patients and colleagues with compassion and care. This job is a people-centric profession, and endurance is indispensable. A travel nurse should possess an optimistic outlook and a calm disposition at all times.
Patients frequently look upon the nurse for advice, knowledge, and emotional support. Therefore, you must maintain tolerance and patience when it comes to your patient’s feelings and emotions. A travel nurse has to have the heart and ability to communicate with warmth and empathy. You should be prepared to handle the patient’s questions, doubts, and oddity with patience.
Whether you’re already a travel nurse or planning to become one
This definitive checklist will help you understand what you need and why. You may have to work harder to develop the skills that you lack. Travel nursing is an excellent choice for nurses looking to travel to new and exciting places, build your resume, and earn additional monetary benefits.
If you would like to read tips from fellow Gypsy Nurses? Here are a couple great articles written by fellow travel nurses: