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Travel Nursing Opportunities: Get Paid to See the World

May 1, 2014 General 0 Comments

Travel Nursing Opportunities: Get Paid to See the WorldIf you've ever dreamed of traveling around the country or even the world, travel nursing can take you almost anywhere. From the beaches of Hawaii to the sweltering Australian outback or the savannas of Africa, nursing can act as your ticket around the world. Here are some of the factors to consider if you're thinking of working as a nurse in another state or country.

Get Your Kicks on Route 66 — and Beyond

If you want to explore the United States, you'll have ample opportunities as a nurse. The main things you need to consider when looking to nurse in other states are your experience and the licensing requirements of your destination. Not all states accept the same licensing or recognize the same training, so it's important to research the state before making any final decisions.

Traditionally, the best option for nurses looking to work in a different state was a hospital, but now opportunities have expanded to include long-term care, case management and home health or hospice. You'll typically need at least one year of experience in whatever specialty you choose. Traveling to a new state for work means you're going into situations with no formal orientation, and it will take you some time to get comfortable. You'll need to rely on your previous experience, as well as strong clinical skills, to help get you through it.

Some organizations will provide housing for you, but you can also choose to find your own lodging. Be sure to ask about bonuses and other incentives such as health insurance; sometimes these will have a probationary waiting period, which can rule you out of the plans if you're only there for a short period of time.

Also consider the benefits of setting up your permanent residence in a compact license state. The compact license state agreement allows residents of the 24 participating states to practice in any other participating state without additional licensing. However, you must maintain your permanent residence in your compact state to have multistate licensing privileges; if you move to a state outside the compact agreement, your compact state license becomes good only in the state of licensure.

Going Global

Maybe you've already traveled across the United States or simply want to go global. There are international travel opportunities in hospitals and other healthcare settings, but you'll have to be licensed in those individual countries. Be forewarned: As a U.S.-trained nurse, you'll likely need at least a bachelor's degree in nursing to be eligible for licensing in other countries. Canada used to accept associate degree nurses, but no longer; and other countries have also been tightening their standards in this regard, including New Zealand and Australia. You can expect more paperwork than usual for international licenses as a foreign-trained nurse, but the benefits of being able to travel the world and be paid to do it can outweigh the hassle.

Be a Paid "Volunteer"

Most international volunteers receive no pay, but one organization does offer a monthly stipend to healthcare workers: Doctors Without Borders. While you won't get rich on a monthly stipend of approximately $1,500, it will allow you some money for expenses and maybe a few of your monthly bills back home while you travel to areas in need of urgent healthcare. However, don't expect to be assigned to pristine beaches or cosmopolitan cities. In fact, don't expect to have any say in where you go at all: With Doctors Without Borders, you are assigned to whatever area has the greatest need due to an acute medical crisis. You should also expect that there will be a certain amount of danger involved in going into these areas of conflict.

Nursing is a great profession in itself, but it offers huge benefits for those who love new experiences and traveling. Travel nursing is a great way to see the world and make a great living while you do it.

Photo credit: Flickr

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