Andrew Wettengel / Friday, August 9, 2019 / Categories: Work World


Many nurses get into travel nursing because they enjoy meeting new people, having new experiences and traveling the country while doing the work they love. But for those eager to begin their great adventure, there’s one question that comes up frequently: How long does it take to become a travel nurse? Like most things, there’s a short answer and a long answer. Here’s a look at what you’ll need on your resume and in your skill set to become the ideal travel nursing candidate.

Experience required. If you’re an RN, most hospitals and clinics that hire travel nurses want to see at least a year of experience on your resume before you’ll be considered. Likewise, if you are a nurse practitioner or have an MSN, you would still need at least a year on the job. The same goes for those who want to work in a nursing specialty. That year of experience would be in addition to completing the education and training requirements needed to receive a specialty certification or similar credential.

So, the general rule of thumb is one year of experience. But that doesn’t mean that you’ll be automatically ready to begin travel nursing as soon as you hit your first nursing anniversary. To become an ideal candidate, you’ll need to develop skills and work habits that will truly prepare you for any travel nursing assignment.

Becoming independent. One of the qualities hiring managers look for in travel nurses is someone who can truly work independently. While hospitals will train travel nurses on where to find supplies, hospital procedures and other unique aspects of the floor you’ll be working on, they don’t want to do a lot of hand holding. Remember, these organizations are likely hiring travel nurses because they have a shortage of staff nurses. That means nurses don’t have a lot of time (or desire) to train someone in, especially if that person will only be there for a few weeks. So, before you jump into travel nursing, take thetime to make sure you feel confident in your skill set and can come in and contribute right away.

Staying flexible. Along with independence, flexibility is another key trait that defines successful travel nurses. Hiring managers want to know that you can adapt to a new environment quickly and easily. This can mean everything from how readily you build rapport with staff nurses, adjust to new CRM systems and even how well you’ll fare in a new city. Starting a new travel nursing assignment is an adjustment for even the most seasoned of travel nurses. So how flexible you are and how quickly you can adapt to those changes is crucial for achieving success in your new role.

Long story short. So, how long does it take to become a travel nurse? The short answer is one year of experience. But the real question is: how long will it take you to be prepared to become a travel nurse? To be an ideal candidate, you want to be confident, skilled, independent and flexible. If you can highlight these traits on your resume, all the better. The important thing is that you take the time to truly prepare yourself for travel nursing and develop the skills you need to be successful. Once you’ve done that, whether it’s a year or longer, you’ll be ready to embark on your first great adventure in travel nursing.

Have a year of RN experience under your belt and want to give travel nursing a try? Contact OneStaff Medical or begin the application process today!


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