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Work as a Travel Nurse

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 24 Jan 2021 | comments*Discuss
 
Nursing Nurse Travel Career Contract

Travel nursing is somewhat of a newer health career role that is slowly becoming more formalised. In a sense, it began to deal with the shortages experienced around the world in the nursing field. Recruitment would often focus on skilled nurses in other countries, with various ‘perks’ to attract them to work on short assignments to fill the shortages.

Becoming a Travel Nurse

There are numerous motivations for a person to choose a health career working as a travel nurse. Pay is usually much higher and the exposure to new cultures and environments gives you more experience.

Usually, the best way to become a travel nurse is to sign on with a recruitment agency that specialises in this particular field of employment. It also makes the transition easier from a legal and paperwork point-of-view.

Working With a Recruitment Agency

Agencies typically have you fill out forms that cover everything from education to work experience and skills. You may need specific immunisations and tests to ensure you are healthy and protected from disease in the country where you will work.

All the legal aspects relating to your right to work in the country will similarly be taken care of by an agency. Once connected to a job role, the agency will generally take a specific percentage of your pay as their commission for organising the role.

Accommodations and logistical issues may be worked out by the hiring company, the agency or both. Usually, relocation costs are covered or may be included in the terms of your working contract. Other aspects that will have to be addressed include your own personal health insurance while working in the foreign country.

Issues in Travel Nursing Work

While working as a travel nurse can be exhilarating and ideal for adventurous types, there are still issues to consider before taking the plunge. Many extra costs that you don’t anticipate could be involved, such as legalities around your nursing license to work there. Usually, these matters are dealt with through recruitment agencies or the employer but always check your contract to be certain it’s covered.

You need to be flexible to deal with a new environment and a new team. Also, plan ahead financially as food costs and other expenses can be much higher. Even though travel nurses can often make significantly higher salaries than local, permanent staff, you have to look at the big picture.

Requirements for Working as a Travel Nurse

Most travel nurses should have some previous experience as a nurse, although now with major shortages around the world, some employers are recruiting new graduates. It helps, however, for your own personal success if you have a year or two of experience before jumping into a career that has additional challenges to a local position as a nurse.

On-the-Job Training

Training for the new job can be limited and some employers will expect you to get right into the role with little supervision or support. For some nurses, this independence is relished but others may flounder. These issues can and should be discussed prior to taking on a new role.

Typical Working Contracts

Working contracts for a travel nurse range quite a bit, but tend to be anywhere from a month to a year or two. Sometimes, a permanent position will be offered to the travel nurse after some time on the job.

If you are fortunate, your contract may also include housing. This is more likely the case for a short-term contract as opposed to a longer one nearer the year mark. Other employers may provide a housing stipend. Again, there is no set standard, which means you must be clear on these aspects prior to signing a contract.

Be Aware of Tax Issues

One important consideration is taxes. You may be subject to taxes in the country where you work and your home country. To avoid double-taxation, you should speak to an accountant who is skilled in foreign income issues. Failure to declare foreign income could also cause problems. To ensure they aren’t an issue, financial planning is vital.

Your Role as a Travel Nurse

Working as a travel nurse definitely is not for everyone. It requires a person who copes well with change – perhaps relishes it. Independence is ideal, so it may not work well if you have a partner and family. But with the salary perks and experience gained, it can be the adventure of a lifetime for someone who loves the field of nursing.

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Hello - are there any similar avenues for physiotherapists? Thanks!
Jen - 24-Jan-21 @ 6:51 PM
I am interested in becoming a travel nurse however I cannot find an agency from the UK that manage travel nurses. literally searched everywhere but agencies I found are those that recruit nurses from abroad to the UK. I want to find one that help nurses from the UK to other places abroad like the US and Australia. Do you know any agencies like this?
Barry - 16-Jul-20 @ 12:11 AM
Francis - Your Question:
I have ever been obsessed in exploring all aspects of the nursing profession where opportunity avails. Hence l feel that my mission is not fully accomplished without an experience of how it feels to be a travel nurse. I have no commitments l am 66 years old and still energetic enough to carry on with my professional experience and utilise my skills and knowledge where required to bring about change to people 's lifes.

Our Response:
There is no upper age limit to start nurse training but you should discuss any concerns that you might have about your suitability for training with the universities offering courses, please see link here .
AHealthCareer - 6-Mar-18 @ 12:00 PM
I have ever been obsessed in exploring all aspects of the nursing profession where opportunity avails. Hence l feel that my mission is not fully accomplished withoutan experience of how it feels to be a travel nurse. I have no commitments l am 66 years old and still energetic enough to carry on with my professional experience and utilise my skills and knowledge where required to bring about change to people 's lifes.
Francis - 5-Mar-18 @ 9:51 AM
I'm really looking into becoming a travel nurse.My children are grown up I have no ties and at 46.I feel this could be my chance to do the job I love and work different assignments in different places. Bringing a new dimension to my profession. If anyone has some experiential advise and didn't mind sending me a mail I would be grateful Thank you
Mandy - 23-Jan-16 @ 5:32 PM
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