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Traveling as a Career Option


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By Christina Orlovsky, contributor

Few professions offer the flexibility, portability and career possibilities awarded in nursing. No matter where you go, a rewarding opportunity waits you—especially if you’re a travel nurse.

Whether you enjoy the snowy slopes of the Colorado Rockies, the sunny beaches of Florida, the vast wine country of Northern California or the fast pace of New York City, a travel nursing assignment can fulfill your personal and professional goals, all while you explore new cities throughout the United States.

Travel nurses choose their path for a variety of reasons. For one, there’s the opportunity to see places you’ve never seen—and not just as a tourist. As a travel nurse on an assignment that can typically last eight to 26 weeks or even as long as six months to a year, you can spend as much time as you like getting to know your surroundings and really taking part in your new community.

Whether you’re settling in for a short- or long-term assignment in your new surroundings, you’ll have the opportunity to meet new people and forge new friendships, or even take the chance to reconnect with old friends who have also relocated.

In addition to catching up with old friends in new places, traveling as a health care professional also provides nurses the opportunity for new life experiences, the chance to make new friends and the ability to gain new skills and knowledge in various clinical settings. Friendships, adventure and career-boosting opportunities aside, perhaps one of the greatest things about travel nursing is how easy it is to get started.

The first step is to choose a travel nursing company. Many agencies advertise online and in nursing journals. No matter what you’re looking for, whether it’s benefits, increased pay, long- or short-term assignments, location, housing or the ability to travel with a friend, spouse or even a pet, there is a travel nursing company that can meet your needs. Web sites like NurseZone.com and www.TravelNursing.com can help you decide the company that’s right for you. After you apply with an agency, you’ll be put in touch with a recruiter who will help you find the perfect match for you in the city or state of your choosing. Your recruiter will work with you to choose a destination and prepare for a phone interview with a compatible facility. All that’s left for you to do is accept the position.

Your travel company will help you with credentialing and licensure in the state where you’ll be working and will arrange for housing, utility setup and furniture delivery. Your only responsibility is to pack your bags, hit the road and prepare for the opportunity of a lifetime.

Some of the travel nursing companies specialize in placing new nurses with one year of experience, such as American Mobile Healthcare, which has a new graduate section on its Web site.