Searching for a travel nursing assignment can be difficult. With thousands of hospitals across the U.S., finding the right location for a travel nursing assignment requires a lot of forethought and careful decision-making. This article is designed to help you figure out which aspects of a travel nursing assignment are most important to you, and which you can compromise on. Read on to find out how to find your perfect travel nursing destination!
Go With The Seasons
Time for an economics lesson! Travel nursing is built on supply and demand – and these two variables can change in different parts of the country and different times of the year. Some parts of the country actually have a nursing surplus, while others have a deep shortage. These differences can affect the amount that travel nurses are paid, and the amount of travel nurse contracts available, in cities and states across the U.S.
If you’re interested in travel nursing for the lifestyle, you could escape the winter by taking an assignment in Florida during the winter months – but keep in mind, many other nurses may want to do the same thing. This means that assignments will be more competitive, and you may also have to settle for lower pay since travel nurses will be driving the price down due to a high supply of travel nurses available for the facilities to hire.
This law of supply and demand cuts the other way, too. You have the ability to make a six-figure income if you’re flexible on where you’ll take an assignment and take assignments at facilities that have a dire need for travel nurses. This might mean going to North Dakota in the middle of the winter, or spending the summer in the Texas heat, but you’ll be handsomely rewarded for accepting travel nursing assignments that other nurses are reluctant to take.
Licensing Time and Ease
The most crucial aspect of finding a travel nursing assignment and going where you want is to be licensed in the states you’d like to travel to. When working with a travel nursing agency, most facilities and healthcare systems are looking for a nurse to start as quickly as possible – usually, no facility will want to wait more than 4 weeks after posting an assignment to hire a travel nurse, meaning that if it will take longer than 4 weeks to become licensed in the state you want to travel to, you probably won’t be hired for this assignment. Make sure you’re thinking ahead and getting your travel nursing license in states that you’d like to work in well in advance of applying for these assignments.
One of the best ways to make sure you’re always ready for assignments in a variety of different states is to apply for your compact nursing license (also known as the Nursing Licensure Compact, or NLC). This nursing license will allow you to practice in any of the following states:
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Additionally, if you have a nursing license in any of these states, and it’s the same state as your permanent residence, your nursing license is already a compact license! That means that you can travel to any of the compact states listed above and practice as a travel nurse without acquiring any other licensure documentation.
There are also some states that are classified as “walk-through” states. These states allow you to accept a travel nursing assignment with a temporary nursing license for the state, which you can acquire by visiting the board of nursing and filling out the requisite paperwork. However, it’s up to the discretion of the hospitals as to whether they will hire nurses with temporary licenses, so it doesn’t mean that finding a job in a walk-through state in a short amount of time is a sure thing.
Here’s a list of “walk-through” states:
Decide What You Want
Now that you know all the nitty-gritty details regarding travel nurse pay and licensing, you’re ready to make a decision on what matters the most to you on a travel nursing assignment. If you are looking for an assignment where you go to a beautiful destination and spend time hiking and exploring, you may have to compromise and take a lower pay rate while staying in an area with a higher cost of living. If you’re looking for an assignment where you can make the highest possible pay rate and find housing that’s inexpensive so that you can maximize your take-home pay and savings, you may be looking for areas that aren’t as glamorous or exciting as Hawaii or Florida.
The key to finding your perfect assignment is working with a recruiter who you connect with! They’ll be able to find assignments for you in exotic travel destinations, and have the know-how and experience to help you find the highest-paying nursing assignments across the country that also let you take the highest amount of your paycheck home, after paying for your living expenses.
Our recruiters are able to answer all these questions and more. We aim to empower travel nurses to make the best decisions for themselves, and we’d love to help you find your perfect travel nursing assignment. You can click below to see all our open positions — express your interest in them, and one of our recruiters will be in touch soon!