This past spring, all eyes turned toward New York City as the COVID-19 pandemic surge took over clinics and hospitals. Resources poured into the city in the form of equipment and personnel. Nurses from around the country came into the New York metro area to help where they were needed most, shoring up overworked staff and lightening the workload on teams.
As the months passed, we’ve watched the epicenter shift and hotspots pop up in cities all over the country. And in each instance, traveling nurses have shifted to these regions to provide vital support. New York City nurses, having gone through the experience in their own hospitals, traveled across the country to bring their unique experience to Louisiana, southern California, Florida, Nevada, and more. The fluidity of our current health situation has made the traveling nurse more valuable than ever.
What Is a Traveling Nurse?
Traveling nurses are registered nurses (RNs) who work for an agency rather than a single hospital or facility. These agencies work with healthcare providers around the country (and sometimes internationally) to fill temporary staffing needs — as in our current case — a major patient spike brought on by a pandemic. Temporary staffing agencies allow local healthcare administrators to efficiently respond to nursing shortages and ensure that patient care remains the top priority.
Contracts for traveling nurse normally will range from 8 to 26 weeks long, although the average, according to TravelNursing.org, is around 13 weeks. In exchange, hospitals and facilities often offer both housing assistance and higher than average pay, along with the intrinsic value of experiencing new places and being able to assist patients where you are truly needed most.
How Do You Become a Traveling Nurse?
First, you have to become a registered nurse by attending an accredited nursing program that sets you up with the technical knowledge and patient care skills that will serve as your foundation. Comprehensive understanding of the essentials of nursing are important because traveling nurses don’t get a lot of orientation on-the-job. You’ll be expected to hit the ground running, and a focused nursing school program will be vital to help you with that.
In addition to finding placement opportunities, the agency will also help you attain the specific licensure by endorsement that you will need to work outside your home state. Travel nurse staffing agencies can provide health insurance, tuition reimbursement, retirement, and even bonuses and vacation time, so it’s best to look at all the options out there before you sign with one in particular.
If you have thinking about becoming a nurse and find the idea of travel nursing appealing, it’s time to contact St. Paul’s School of Nursing. Our Staten Island and Queens campuses offer nursing programs that build your skills, provide you with essential foundational knowledge, and prepare you to take the NCLEX-RN exam upon program completion. With all of that under your belt, you’ll be ready for the next step into travel nursing. Click here for more information or call us today at (855) 822-3018 and speak to one of our career counselors.