Travel Nurse

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Basic description

Travel nurses are those who travel and take temporary nursing assignments, usually lasting 8 to 26 weeks (average is 13 weeks), in locations of the nurse’s choice, in facilities across the United States and internationally. Travel nurses often work in hospital settings in staff nurse positions, but may also be found on cruise ships, in rural settings, or other roles that require the skill of a registered nurse. A travel nurse works with an agency that makes arrangements for the position, provides accommodations at the location, and pays for travel expenses. The work activities depend on the location and the type of assignment. A nurse could go from a tertiary intensive care unit, caring for a postoperative coronary bypass patient, to a small 30-bed hospital where nurses care for a child with pneumonia next to an elderly patient with a stroke. Travel nurses are those who thrive on diversity and enjoy the opportunity to travel and experience new places and cultures.

Educational requirements

Registered nurse preparation is required; experience as a nurse is often preferred but not required.

Core competencies/skills needed

■ Strong clinical skills; a critical care background is highly recommended, but not required
■ Flexibility and adaptability
■ Strong communication skills and the ability to get along with people to help integration within a unit and foster positive working relationships
■ Adaptable to change

Related Web sites and professional organizations

■ National Association of Traveling Nurses (

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