Dance & Rehearse Like a Freelance Travel Nurse

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You've always dreamed of traveling the world, but you want a professional career that provides a steady income. You love caring for people and working with physicians and other nurses to provide top-notch patient care. You'd love to combine those passions by becoming a travel nurse. But do you have what it takes to make the cut?

Here's a quick overview of the qualifications, experience and personal characteristics you'll need in order to really thrive as a travel nurse.

Education
To take advantage of travel RN job opportunities, you'll need to be a registered nurse. RNs have completed either an associate's or a bachelor's degree in nursing and passed the NCLEX-RN exam to earn their certification. Depending on the course of study you decide to pursue and the amount of education you already have, earning RN credentials takes two to four years.

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Experience
Different organizations require different levels of experience in your chosen field or specialty in order to sign on as a travel nurse. Travelnursing.org requires at least one year of experience in a hospital setting in order to apply. One of the best parts about travel nursing is the wide variety of valuable experience you'll gain on the job as you work around culture.

Flexibility
All nurses learn quickly; they have to be willing to go with the flow when it comes to their jobs. In hospital settings, quick decisions are made, and situations change at a moment's notice. Nurses must be flexible enough to deal with those changes, and keeping cool when everything around is chaotic is also a vital element. It's even more important for travel nurses to be adaptable to change, because they have to deal with it both on and off the clock, at work when providing patient care, and at home when learning an unfamiliar culture.

Home life
While many companies provide housing allowances or furnished living quarters for temporary contractors, sharing a home might be a requirement. Depending on whether you choose to accept domestic or foreign assignments, accommodations might be grander or more modest than you are accustomed to at your home.

Credentials and licensure
If you are working with an agency, your agent can help you determine which credentials are required for the region where you will work. Depending on the state, you may have to take exams, provide proof of education or pay a registration fee for access to work. In addition, it is important to verify who is responsible for malpractice insurance coverage while you are on duty.

Spirit of adventure
You'll hate being a freelancer on the move if you don't love to travel. Living overseas for weeks or months at a time is different from taking a vacation to Cabo for a week or two. You'll have to get out of your comfort zone, make new friends, find your way around a new workplace and town and learn the cultural expectations that go along with the new culture.

The decision is yours: Is travel nursing a good fit for you? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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