A Day in the Life of a Travel Nurse
Where the world, is your workplace
Considering the travel life and want to know what a regular shift looks like for travel nurses? As a nurse, you probably already know that no two days are alike. Depending on the medical facility you work in, your shift length might range anywhere between six to twelve hours. So, you never stop moving amongst chaos. Let’s dive into the life of a travel nurse and find out what they do and what a typical day looks like for them.
Who are Travel Nurses?
Hospitals and healthcare facilities hire “travel nurses” to fulfill short-term staffing needs. They may sign a contract for a few hours or days via per diem contracts, or longer agreements that carry over months. When their assignments are up, travel nurses can stay in the same place for longer or move on to a different area and job.
Whenever a healthcare facility is short on employees, a travel nurse steps in to fill the gaps. Regardless of little to no ramp time to learn a facility’s culture, these nurses are expected to do all the duties of a staff nurse without skipping a beat. For example, a newborn intensive care unit (ICU nurse) that is within one of the compact nursing license states and is desperately short-staffed. It is a perfect situation for a travel nursing job. Travel nurses may need to learn the ins and outs of the hospital’s charting system and specific patients’ histories independently, as the permanent staff might not have the time or resources to brief them fully. Because of this, nurses who travel must learn to thrive in high-pressure situations and adapt.
Typically, travel nurse contracts last between 8 to 26-weeks with the average available we see in the SkillGigs’ marketplace around 13-weeks. However, this range is not set in stone. A select few travel nurses appreciate their temporary assignments so much that they stay in that field permanently. They enjoy the mobility and schedule freedom.
Daily Duties of a Traveling Nurse
Although all nurses perform many of the same tasks, those who work in specialty units will have additional responsibilities beyond those of a typical RN. The typical duties of a traveling nurse involve the following:
- maintaining a level of expertise in cutting-edge medical practices, pharmaceuticals, and treatments
- helping the local workers out with their workload
- providing primary medical care
- performing medical examinations
- reviewing patient histories
- attending to their psychological and physiological concerns
- documenting specific signs and symptoms
- collecting samples for analysis
- providing therapy and medication administration
- checking in on patients and making sure they’re doing okay
- providing mental and physical health services to several patients.
- supporting and advising patients
- providing self-care education to patients
- assisting patients receiving intensive care
- offering solace for the elderly and the terminally ill
- interacting with family members
- educating patients and their loved ones on treatment strategies
- informing loved ones of the patient’s condition
- working together with medical professionals and other caregivers
- making sure everything is coordinated with other medical professionals
- maintaining a constant vigil over a patient’s vitals
- maintaining complete medical records
- organizing vaccination drives
- dispensing medicines
All while facing the challenges of the most recent developments in medicine, technology, and treatment methods.
What Happens After the Completion of an Assignment?
Your travel nurse contract might draw to a close when you’ve just started to settle in. From here on out, the choice is yours if you want to stay. Your nurse manager or recruiter should inform you if you are being considered for a contract extension. It’s best to depart on a positive note if you choose to move on. In particular, the nurse manager deserves your gratitude for immediately making you feel at home and valued. You should always be open to working with new people.
What are the Benefits of Becoming One?
Now that you know what a traveling nurse is and why they are essential to the healthcare industry, it’s time to consider the advantages of this line of work. There is a unique blend of perks for nurses who choose to travel. Here, you’ll learn about some of the most appealing aspects of a career as a traveling nurse.
- There aren’t many careers that provide employees the freedom to see the world and settle down anywhere they like, but nursing is one of them
- As a nurse, you have unparalleled freedom in determining your schedule and location of employment when you opt for travel nursing
- You can increase your knowledge and expertise by gaining experience in various settings, from prestigious universities and research institutes to small community hospitals
- The job security of this profession is comforting for traveling nurses to know that they’ll have work ready for them as soon as their current assignment comes to an end
- Nurses of all backgrounds can benefit from traveling because it allows them to meet and interact with individuals from many walks of life and cultures, from coworkers at their workplace to new acquaintances made outside of work
- Travel nurses are compensated well for their time and effort, with high hourly rates, shift premiums, overtime, and even completion incentives from some hospitals and agencies
- Registered travel nurses typically avoid workplace politics and organizational conflicts. They show up to work and provide their full attention to their patients
- Assignment options provide a great way to explore several cities and regions of the country before settling down
- Travel nursing is a career path that can help you avoid “burnout,” which is a problem for many permanent nurses. If you’re sick of hospital politics or feel like your career has plateaued, a change of scenery to a new location may be just what you need
What is the Salary Range?
Travel nurses receive better pay than their permanent colleagues since they are in high demand wherever they go. In addition to a defined salary, some travel nursing jobs provide free lodging and meals. As a result, it’s essential to keep this in mind while interpreting wage ranges. Taking a look into SkillGig’s own talent marketplace and assessing the volume of jobs currently available, the medium range for a 13-week contract is approximately $2,200 to $5,400 per week.
Travel nurses’ salaries vary based on several factors, including the demand for their services, the local cost of living, their level of expertise, and the specialty in which they work. The salary for shorter-term jobs is typically higher than that for longer-term employment. As long as there is a demand for nurses, it is likely that travel nurse pay will stay competitive.
Price gouging by several travel nurse agencies was alleged during the COVID-19 outbreak. Most of the objections center on the agency portion of payments rather than nursing salaries, though it is unclear what legislation may be passed to address this. However, monitoring the potential impact on travel nurse pay is essential.
How to Become a Travel Nurse?
There are criteria that prospective travel nurses must meet. You can apply for the best-paying travel nurse jobs after you’ve completed the following steps:
- Successful completion of an Associate’s or Bachelor’s program in nursing
- Obtaining a passing score on the NCLEX-RN exam (RN)
- Experiential learning on the job
- Acquiring a license for registered nurse jobs
- Employment Contract With a Travel Nursing Agency
Ready to Get Started With Your First Assignment?
A traveling nurse gets to serve individuals needing medical attention while also enjoying the thrill of working in different fields of nursing and visiting exotic locations.
Sign up with SkillGigs now if you’re ready to take on your first traveling nurse assignment! SkillGigs offers their traveling nurses an unbeatable package of perks, such as:
- Gain access to the unannounced positions
- Make your own schedule, negotiate your own pay, and interact with whomever you like, whenever you want
- You will no longer have to deal with spam emails or unwanted calls
- Use a 3D résumé to boost your professional reputation
- Take an active role in your search for a job to get the salary and position you want
Make a profile to get started. And check out the other ‘hot jobs‘ in healthcare today. Joining SkillGigs’ marketplace means that you get to begin creating the life you’ve always imagined for yourself — while earning more.