More Than a Resume: What You Need to Get Started
Travel nursing can be a very appealing prospect for those in the healthcare field for a multitude of reasons- whether it’s the opportunity to visit different cities across the country, the generous pay, or the ability to grow in your chosen career field. Being a travel nurse allows medical professionals to get out of their comfort zone and make a difference in the lives of those they may not meet otherwise. There are a lot of attractive reasons to venture into the travel nursing industry. Getting started can be overwhelming, however – particularly when navigating licensing and credentialing.
What is a “travel nurse”?
Those new to the travel nursing industry often envision exotic destinations and lavish compensation. However, the reality can be different. By definition, a travel nurse is a medical professional that is employed by an independent nursing staffing agency- rather than a single hospital. While it is possible that you can travel to a different city or state, you may also be working at a hospital close to home that is experiencing staffing shortages. Nevertheless, the choice is yours on where your travels will take you.
What types of nurses qualify?
The very basic requirement for becoming a travel nurse is to have an active license (more on specific licenses to follow). Travel nursing is usually associated with Registered Nurses (RN). However, there are facilities that are looking to hire Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) as well. The needs do vary based on the exact location, type of facility, and the current staffing needs of said facility. Additionally, it is important to consider:
- U.S. based nurses: if you are looking to travel internationally, consider an international agency.
- International nurses: Many U.S. opportunities do not offer visa-sponsorship. For example, at Jaykay, we are not able to place international candidates.
You are ready to start travel nursing. What now? To begin the process, these are the initial requirements:
- Copy of your resume
- Professional license – see below for further details
- 2 professional references
- CPR / BLS / ACLS and TB certification
- Copy of your Driver’s License
- Completed employee application
- Details regarding any specialty experience (if applicable)
If your potential placement is in a specific unit, additional credentials will usually be required (i.e. critical care CCRN certification, labor / delivery NRP). It is important to remember, that maintaining necessary certifications are at your own expense. So, review potential costs with your recruiter if you are planning to travel long term.
State License versus a Compact License
As previously mentioned, one of the requirements will be ensuring you have the proper licensing. If you are looking at working domestically within the United States, chances are you may need to get additional license in your desired destination (if you do not hold one already). Quite often, professionals who live and work within driving distance of multiple states (i.e. the Northeast), will hold licenses in those neighboring states. However, if you are only licensed in one state, your recruiter will most likely only be able to place you somewhere within your licensed state (crisis exceptions may be made).
Beyond the traditional state license, a Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) license is a multi-state licensure program available to those holding licenses in one of 29* states (21 states are currently not participating in the program). A Compact License affords you the opportunity to work in an NLC license state. If the state of your original license is one of the 21 states not in the program, additional applicable licensing will be required.
Get Started with Travel Nursing
While research is always advisable, the advice of an experienced medical recruiter is essential. A recruiter can walk you through the steps required for a successful application. More so, a recruiter will walk along side you as you transition into your new role. If you are ready to start the process of becoming a travel nurse, Jaykay Medical Staffing is ready to help! We invite you to SEARCH or job opportunities or SEND us a message!