We have all heard about travel nursing but how the heck does it work!? Having been a travel nurse, I am here to answer ALL your questions.


The first step is to apply to travel nursing agencies. If accepted, they help match you to a city of your choice. Travel nursing is one of the best ways to cross living in certain cities or working at specific hospitals off your bucketlist. Each contract is 3 months long. You can extend if the hospital still needs help or leave after your 3 months is up. Travel nursing contracts are only within the United States. To work abroad, look into medical mission companies or volunteer work.


Travel nursing requires at least 1 year of experience, preferably 2 years, in the specialty you will be applying for. You cannot travel nurse in the ICU without ICU experience. The hospitals using travel nurses expect well seasoned, experienced, and flexible nurses to fill their needs. Depending upon the hospital and unit, travel nurses may float the most or get the worst assignments. This makes complete sense since travel nurses are not core staff.


You are employed through a travel nurse agency. This agency assigns you a recruiter who helps you find positions that meet your criteria. They are your point of contact for any problems you may have!


What is so wonderful about travel nursing is the time off! You can write pre-arranged vacations into your travel contract. Additionally, you can travel in-between contracts! Lastly, travelers rarely work holidays because the hospital pays the most money to travel nurses, so it is cheaper to pay core staff to work holidays instead.


The travel agency pays you weekly. The pay package is the same regardless of working day shift or night shift. If the unit is busy and you get sent home or if your shift gets cancelled you still get full pay because you are contracted through your agency.


Working in different states requires different licensure. Make sure to apply months in advance as it can take awhile to receive the new license.


Your travel agency will provide you with benefits packages. These tend to be on the pricier side!

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