Thank you for working towards a career as a traveling nurse. This is an occupation that is needed now more than ever. With COVID-19, people need medical help, and they can’t always leave their home to get it. This is truly a job that makes the world a better place.
If you are just beginning your journey. You likely need some guidance on the best way to land a traveling nurse job and the certifications you will need along the way. Let’s look at how to obtain your dream career.
Get Your Certifications
As with most medical careers, you will need the proper education and certifications to become a traveling nurse. As a general foundation, you will want to go to school and acquire either an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. The former is a two-year program and the latter a four-year endeavor.
Both of these degrees will teach you the technical and medical skills that you need to become a registered nurse (RN). Along with how to apply these skills to real-world scenarios. Once your education is complete, you will also need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) exam. Which really puts your skills to the test with a computer-based assessment that reviews your efficiency with every aspect of nursing. From health maintenance to physiological adaptation.
On top of your education and certifications, you will also need one to two years of experience before you can become a traveling nurse. You can get this experience in a hospital and gain the skills that you can show off on your resume. Generally, you will have your choice of specialties in which to gain this experience, whether that be in labor and delivery, ICU, or many other departments. You can also consult your school for a recommendation.
Write Your Resume and Cover Letter
Once you get the required education, it is time to put together a professional resume and cover letter to present to potential employers. Avoid using a generic cover letter. Instead modify it to the company where you are applying, including adding their address along with the person and department you are directing it towards. At the start, mention the position you are applying for and why.
Your resume and cover letter should have a mix of your past experience along with the qualifications you’ve earned up until this point. Your cover letter is a general summary, while the resume goes into further detail. Resume should include honors you received, your professional affiliations, and your best achievements thus far. When writing achievements, you want them to be specific and measurable, so an example is that you “improved patient ratings by 20% through passion and commitment.”
Your resume should include a combination of hard and soft skills. Hard skills include things you learn in schools, such as performing CPR or drawing blood, while soft skills are more like personality skills, including the ability to stay calm in stressful conditions and how to effectively communicate with coworkers and patients. As you gain more experience, continue to update your resume so you can impress future employers.
Acing the Interview
The final step to improving your chances for that traveling nurse job is to ace the job interview. Before you show up, take some time to research the hospital or company you will be working for. So you can impress when they inevitably ask what you know about the company. This also gives you a chance to ask questions. Not only about the establishment, but their values, the patients they serve, and more.
Next, take the time to research some common nursing interview questions. They may ask you about a time you dealt with a difficult patient, your most rewarding experience, or how you deal with the stress of nursing. Take some time to come up with quality answers to these questions. So you don’t hesitate when you are asked during the interview.
During all of this preparation, also make sure that your social media accounts are clean and presentable. Take down any inappropriate photos that you wouldn’t want an employer to see. Instead, add a profile photo of you in professional attire. If you want to keep your profiles separate from your professional life, then change the privacy settings so only your friends can see what you post.
As a traveling nurse, you are truly helping the world on a daily basis. Take the time to make the proper preparations and apply for these positions with confidence.