Nursing is a plentiful, demanding, and almost endless field when it comes to options for career choices and professional experiences. Though plenty of nurses find satisfying jobs right in their own backyards, others have an itch for adventure. If that is you, you may be interested in becoming a traveling nurse. There is a lot you need to know, but first off, you’ll need to determine what degrees or certifications are appropriate to have before applying. In most cases and in most states, you will not need to have your BSN to apply for a traveling nursing job. Still, the Institute of Medicine is calling for 80% of the entire nursing workforce to be BSN-credentialed in just three years, by 2020. And in this same manner, more and more traveling nurse employers are opting for higher educated nurses who have obtained or are obtaining their BSN. Be sure to check out our ranking of the Top 50 Best Value Online RN to BSN programs for 2017.
Even without your BSN you will need to be a Registered Nurse (RN) with at least one year of experience in your nursing specialty before traveling. This is especially important if you are specialized or plan to apply to work in the areas of ICU, the cath lab, or the OB. Keep in mind that licenses must match the states where you wish to work, but some states are part of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). They are called compact states, and working within them means your license can travel with you from state to state, job to job.
Studies show that hospitals with BSN-educated nurses tend to produce a higher quality of care. When it comes to traveling nurses, employers must trust that their nurses can adjust to quick changes with a sometimes-steep learning curve, making the BSN educated applicants all the more desirable. Although traveling nurses don’t have the stress of attending all staff meetings or holding some of the more demanding positions in a practice, they still must be competent enough to self-manage their patients in a new and ever-changing environment.
You’ll want to remember, too, that pay rates typically increase for nurses who have a BSN. This is true whether you choose to travel or not. However, traveling nurses are paid a competitive salary in addition to a housing bonus. Your salary will be all the more competitive if you have your BSN title to add to your credentials.
If you are already considering earning your online RN to BSN soon, why not do it while you travel? There are plenty of traveling nursing jobs for RNs available and since you can affordably complete your RN to BSN completely online from anywhere in the nation, consider doing so while you get a little experience under your belt and see the country.
Whatever you choose, remember that obtaining an online RN to BSN degree is easier now than ever before. Combine this goal with the excitement of traveling and a competitive salary and there will be no stopping the experiences your competitive career has to offer!