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Healthcare Industry September 16, 2022

Travel Nursing: Here’s What You Should Know

Medically Reviewed by undefined

Written by Adaobi Oduenyi

Travel nursing provides many unique opportunities for nurses, and it has been growing in popularity due to its flexibility and pay.

With COVID-19 and widespread staffing shortages, travel nurses are getting paid far more than they use to, according to ZipRecruiter, the average pay for travel nurses is about $7,400 monthly as well as a stipend that includes funds for meals, housing, and travel.

Travel nurses are usually employed by independent nursing staffing agencies instead of a single facility, and the assignments could be as short as four weeks or as long as 26 weeks, what this means for travel nurses is that they can work in different places and organizations.

“Travel nursing provides a unique experience and provides travel nurses with the opportunity to work with some of the most prestigious doctors and practitioners in some of the most desirable locations while gaining exposure to different nurse leadership practices.“

What Do Travel Nurses Do?

Travel nurses fill the staffing gaps in hospitals and facilities for specific periods.

This can be due to a shortage of registered nurses, due to unexpected leave of absence, seasonal population fluctuations or planned absences, such as maternity leave, migration and many more.

Health stakeholders in Nigeria estimate a looming shortage of over 137,859 nurses in Nigeria by 2030 which translates to a 29.25 per cent gap nationwide, as a result, hospitals must fill these gaps quickly this is where travel nurses come in!

Common Traveling Nurse Specialties:

The most common specialities for travel nurses are:

  • Telemetry

  • Intensive Care Unit (ICU)

  • Medical Surgery

  • Med-Surg Tele

  • Emergency Room

  • Progressive Care Unit (PCU)

  • Operating Room

Important tips for  travel nurses

  • Flexibility:You will have to be flexible as a travel nurse, with certain contracts you may have different patients every time you walk in the door, you might not have ideal accommodations and more so flexibility and adaptability are key.

  • Strong physical exam skills: You must have strong -physical exam skills to properly assess your patient assignment without relying on constant help. 

  • Ability to pick up on new systems quickly: Each hospital is unique and uses different kinds of systems, which is why you must be able to pick up on new systems quickly so that you do not have to spend hours catching up on charting.

  • Good under pressure:As a travel nurse you might be walking into an understaffed hospital, as well as being on the road in a place where you don’t know people can be a lot of emotional pressure that you’ll have to handle. 

  • Strong sense of independence:you will likely not have a lot of help walking into a new facility so it is important that you can handle your job with minimal supervision, so having a strong sense of independence can help with that.

  • Able to move around frequently:since all assignments are short term you will be required to move around frequently.

  • Excellent communication: You’ll need to be able to communicate with all different types of personalities in varying levels of positions. Communicating with your agency, the hospital administration, charge nurses, patients, and other staff nurses, communication can go a long way in making the experience more enjoyable.

  • Do not Take Things Personally:Being a nurse is a stressful job, it is fast-paced and you are dealing with the health of others,  a patient or their family may say something that you may not agree with it’s important to listen but not take anything negatively said personally.

  • Understand Your New Work Environment:Find out about the floor you will be working on. Learn what it is like, how things are done, and where supplies are kept.

  • Ask Questions: When you begin your assignment, you will have an orientation, where you will go over the policies and procedures of your new facility. Use this time to ask questions about anything you do not understand. It is best to ask them now than later.

  • Be Ready To Show Your Skills:A lot of nurses are courteous and professional, once you are trained on the processes jump in and start helping, and your co-workers will see you as a viable part of the team.

  • Have A Positive Attitude:Stress is a guaranteed part of any nursing career. Understanding how to deal with stress can be difficult, especially for a first-time travel nurse, so try to learn some coping skills how which can help you remain positive for your entire assignment.

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