20111226

How I Became a Travel Nurse

St. George Island, FL
I am often asked whether there is more schooling required to become a travel nurse than a non-travel nurse. My answer: Not usually. The amount of schooling is not what travel nurse agencies really care about. Instead, most travel nurse agencies prefer that you have a certain amount of work experience before taking a travel nurse assignment. When I first started as a nurse 16 years ago most travel nurse agencies required one year of experience in your nursing field. It is probably less than that now.

I Met a Travel Nurse Living in the Hospital Parking Lot
One evening after one of my shifts I walked with several other nurses out to the parking lot. When we reached the lot I saw one of the nurses walk over to an RV, open the door and go inside. At first I thought it was the Blood Mobile. Curious as to why the Blood Mobile was still drawing blood in the parking lot at 10:00 p.m., I walked over and knocked on the side door of the RV. The nurse opened the door and I asked her if she was giving blood. She smiled and said "No. My mom and I actually live here while I complete my travel nursing assignment."

Over the next six weeks I got to know the travel nurse well and was able to pick her brain about life as a travel nurse. She told me she had never married and that her father had passed away a few years earlier. Not wanting to sit around while life passed them by, she and her mom decided to hit the road to see America. Kind of a bucket list deal-e-o. She had become a travel nurse to fund their sight seeing. They decided to buy an RV because her travel nurse agency gave her a housing stipend, but allowed her to spend it any way she wanted. She chose to buy an RV and put the money toward paying for it. She projected she would have the RV paid off in three years. Not a bad idea.

After she left our hospital, I decided to look into travel nursing myself.  The rest is history.