Many nurses who have completed their education become licensed and practice nursing in a clinical setting for over a year are opting to take their expertise on the road. This choice gives them an opportunity to live in areas where they may not have ever imagined if they had stuck close to home. Several traveling nurse companies specialize in placing nurses with specific credentials or specialties at international locations. Nurses who join the company’s ranks may find themselves in a neonatal intensive care unit in the arid desert cities of the Middle East, in a jungle hospital in the countries of South America or working in a pediatric unit on the African continent. Many travel nursing companies focus on openings in the nurse’s own country, working in under-served cities, counties and states, or filling in temporarily while the resident nurses are on a break.
Whichever direction a travel nurse chooses to pursue when he or she is ready to commit to a somewhat nomadic lifestyle for a period of time, several considerations must be weighed in advance. The first decision is about the length of time the individual is willing to participate in travel nursing. Some find it wise to enter a short term contract of several weeks to several months in order to discover if they enjoy living and working in unfamiliar territory as much as they think they might. By the time the contract is over, most can tell whether the adventure of travel nursing jobs is something they wish to pursue for a longer time. Many travel nurse companies find that those who are enchanted with the prospect of working in new areas of the country are willing to sign longer term contracts in exchange for the experiences gained in new settings. For an international position, the travel nurse can expect to make a commitment of up to two years. A domestic travel nurse may find himself working in two, three or more locations during the course of a year.
Another consideration is what to do with all of your belongings and current living accommodation while you are gone. For those who have not been licensed long and who have not yet purchased a home or entered extended leases, slipping into the traveling nurse role should be straightforward. Those who take on travel nursing jobs later in their career and who have to rent out their house or make other arrangements may need to work closely with the travel nurse companies to coordinate timing. Traveling nurses often find that the higher level of pay they earn when they are working on a contract in a different region permits them to pay for furniture storage and save funds for new accommodations when they eventually decide to settle in one place.
Making arrangements to stay in touch with family members and friends back home is one of the easier things to deal with before heading out to cover travel nursing jobs. Mobile phones and laptop computers make connectivity a breeze once one becomes acclimated to being in different time zones. Taking care of business back home should be addressed before leaving town. Most banks, for example, offer online services that allow transactions and the ability to monitor the account in real time. Most traveling nurse companies provide a checklist that the nurse can use to make sure all of the necessary preparations are made. In addition, the companies are experienced in dealing with nurses who have to deal with an unexpected personal emergency back home, so the staff can often provide counseling or direction on the best ways to handle the problem efficiently.