So what are the travel nurse requirements? Believe it or
not the requirements for being a travel nurse are pretty much the same as for
being a nurse anywhere. You need to have a solid work history and a good
resume for starters but that's not all...
The basic requirements to be a travel nurse are:
1. Have a current RN license in the state you plan to work. Some states are starting to offer interstate compacts. This is an agreement to honor your RN license from the state you are currently licensed in. This is not a universal program and some state nursing boards have reservations about these programs due to issues with regulation and oversight of the programs. But it is worth checking to see if the state you will be working in will agree to honor the license you hold in a neighboring state. The potential savings are worth the effort.
2. Be experienced for 1-3 years in the area you plan to work. If you have been a nurse for 10 years in the Medical Surgical arena don’t expect to go to work in ER or ICU. The only assignments you will be offered as a travel nurse are the ones you meet the requirements for. The nature of traveling is that the assignments are usually short term and there is not much incentive to spend the time to train someone when they can hire an experienced nurse.
3. Be current on all immunizations including a recent TB test
4. Health Exam, some travel nurse agencies require that you have a physical exam and statement from a doctor or other healthcare provider stating that you are physically able to perform the duties of a nurse.
5. Be current in all the certifications that your specialty requires. For example, if you are an ER nurse you must have ACLS, TNCC, and CPR and sometimes PALS depending on the ER.
6. You must pass a pre-employment drug screening.
7. Pass a criminal background check. Having a crime on your record will not bar you from being employed. As a general rule of thumb if you are able to pass the state screening to receive an RN license then you should not have a problem. However, check with the agency just to be sure. One agency I worked for never even mentioned my 25 year old conviction for a DUI. A different nursing agency told me that I did not meet their high standards to be an employee of their agency.
8. Have three solid references. A good idea is to include at least 2 recent past supervisors on your reference list as many agencies want to hear from at least one of your past supervisors.
Remember, when you apply for a job with a nursing travel agency its exactly like applying for any other job in nursing. Spruce up your resume and make sure it’s current. Be sure the contact information on your references list is current.