A Complete Guide To Crisis Travel Nursing | Trusted Nurse Staffing 987839088534212 [9:30 AM] Katie Iglewski

You are a nurse who also loves to travel.

You thrive in high-energy and high-demand environments.

You aren’t tied down to a specific location for any length of time.

You’ve considered becoming a crisis travel nurse but you want to know more about what they do and how they work.

This guide will answer all of your questions and explain:

  • What a crisis travel nurse does
  • How much they are paid
  • The benefits to crisis travel nurse assignments
  • And more

Table of Contents



What Is Crisis Travel Nursing?

Being a crisis travel nurse is nothing short of rewarding, and you can easily be one, too.

When a travel nurse accepts a contract to travel to an area highly impacted by a crisis, they are on a crisis travel nursing assignment. 

Why are travel crisis nurses hired?

If there is an emergent need for nursing staff when a huge medical event occurs, like an overflow of hospitalizations due to a natural disaster or a pandemic like COVID-19, the crisis travel nurses will likely be hired in hospitals around the area of impact.


crisis travel nurse assignments


How Has COVID-19 Impacted Crisis Travel Nursing?

COVID-19 has created a high demand for a need for crisis travel nurses all across the country. 

Many hospitals are at high-capacity with patients and are understaffed to help care for those patients who are in dire need of medical care.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that there have been nearly 25 million COVID-19 cases across the United States since January 2020.

A number that alarmingly high requires qualified and willing crisis travel nurses to help meet the demand of patients in hospitals throughout the United States.

In addition to crisis travel nurses, some US states are also waiving nursing licensure requirements due to the immense need for nurses in response to COVID-19.

If you want to help combat COVID-19 or another healthcare crisis, Trusted Nurse Staffing can help you find a job and location that works for you. 

With your free profile, you can have access to a recruiter that will help you find crisis travel nurse assignments you might be interested in.




What Credentials Are Required For Crisis Travel Nursing?

If you are a travel nurse, there are no additional or specific requirements or certifications needed to qualify for a crisis travel nurse job.

However, you will likely appear more desirable for crisis travel nurse assignments if you have some advanced RN certifications

Some common nationally recognized certifications might include:

  • Certified Pediatric Nurse.
  • Certified Critical Care Nurse.
  • Certified Emergency Nurse.

Certified Pediatric Nurse

A Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN) has expertise in pediatrics. To become a CPN, you must:

  • Have an associate’s degree, BSN, MSN, or higher nursing degree.
  • Meet one of two possible eligibility pathways.

More than 30,000 CPN certifications are currently held by RN’s.

Certified Critical Care Nurse

A Certified Critical Care Nurse (CCRN) specializes in critical care and can work in:

  • ICUs
  • Cardiac care units
  • Surgical ICUs
  • Transport and flight operations; or
  • Trauma units.

A Registered Nurse can be certified as a CCRN in neonatal, pediatrics, or adult care.

Certified Emergency Nurse

A Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) specializes in conditions that are urgent and/or life-threatening. 

More than 38,000 CEN certifications are currently held by RN’s.

To qualify, you must have a current Registered Nurse license in the United States.




3 Ways Crisis Travel Nurse Assignments Are Different Than Regular Travel Nurse Assignments

Being a regular travel nurse is different than being a crisis travel nurse. 

Crisis travel nurse assignments are:

  1. Often without any warning due to an unknown event like natural disaster or pandemic.
  2. In high-stress and fast-paced environments.
  3. Shorter or longer-term than average assignments based on the crisis at hand.

Because of this, a regular travel nurse assignment and a crisis nurse assignment will differ. 

Most commonly because:

  1. A crisis travel nurse job likely does not have a standard contract length. 
  2. There is typically higher pay for crisis travel nurses due to the high demand of the job.
  3. Crisis travel nurses most often are used in the MICU and ICU.

If a job as a crisis travel nurse is appealing to you, the recruiters at Trusted Nurse Staffing can help. By creating a free profile, you’ll have 24/7 access to a recruiter that will help guide you and provide insight into potential crisis travel nurse jobs around the United States.


travel nurse crisis jobs


#1: Contract Lengths Can Differ

For a regular travel nurse, contract lengths can range from 4 weeks to one year. Most often, they are about 13 weeks

If you enjoy the hospital and location of your travel nurse assignment, you can often apply for a contract extension.

For a crisis travel nurse assignment, contracts can vary based on the demand of the situation on the specific hospital you are assigned.

#2: The Pay Is Higher

Due to the uncertainty of the job and the high demand for crisis travel nurses at unknown and unplanned times, there is generally a 10-100% pay increase for a crisis travel nurse than a regular travel nurse.

Similarly, travel nurses can make more than regular staff nurses because they are filling in a gap where there is a more immediate need for a nurse

They can negotiate their pay and also receive stipends for:


  • Meals; and 
  • Incidentals. 

#3: You’ll Likely Be Assigned To The ICU or MICU Floor

Because a crisis travel nurse is needed when unexpected tragedy or nationwide illness occurs, they are most often assigned to floors like the MICU (Medical Intensive Care Unit) or ICU (Intensive Care Unit).

The MICU cares for patients who have:

  • Lung, kidney, or liver infections and diseases
  • Gastrointestinal complications; or 
  • Overdose. 

The ICU often sees patients with life-threatening illnesses or injuries that require:

  1. Around-the-clock care
  2. Life-support; and 
  3. Closely supervised medications.

A regular travel nurse is more commonly used anywhere there is a need in a non-intensive care unit, like Labor & Delivery, Post-critical care, or Pediatrics.




The Benefits of Taking a Crisis Travel Nurse Assignment

Working in crisis travel nursing can seem:

  • Unreliable because you don’t know if your contract will get dropped last minute or what the pay for each assignment might be.
  • Inconvenient because a crisis is never planned.
  • Scary because the work is demanding and often critical.

But when you put all of that aside, the benefits of taking a crisis travel nurse assignment can heavily outweigh what some might view as negatives:

  1. You can make a lot of money on a crisis travel nurse assignment.
  2. You are helping to make a big difference where there is a large need.

You Can Make a Lot of Money

A crisis travel nurse job is paid more than a regular staff or travel staff nurse because of the demand for essential workers during risky conditions and unplanned events.

A crisis travel nurse can be paid 10-100% more than a regular staff travel nurse. 

They also receive:

  • Food allowance
  • Housing allowance
  • Incidentals allowance
  • Bonus for extra shifts 

Aside from getting a higher pay-rate, some hospitals may offer additional incentives like shift incentives if they are short-staffed.

Aside from getting a higher pay-rate, some hospitals may offer additional incentives like shift incentives if they are short-staffed.

You Are Helping To Make a Difference

All nurses make a difference every single day — there is no doubt about it.

But crisis travel nursing offers qualified nurses a way to help make an impact in critical historic events, like natural disasters or health issues like COVID-19.

In these moments, crisis travel nurses are real-life heroes, literally helping to save the world.


crisis travel nursing


3 Tips To Keep In Mind When Considering Crisis Travel Nurse Jobs

As a travel nurse, you should consider some factors before deciding on accepting a crisis travel nurse job, like:

  1. The location
  2. The risk involved
  3. The pay

#1: Location Matters — Know What You Are Signing Up For

Location is so important to consider when choosing a crisis travel nurse assignment.

Take COVID-19, for example.

Some cities and states, like New York, are more heavily impacted than others. Numbers continue to quickly rise in one area while they may be slowly climbing or leveling out in others.

Do as much research as possible and assess the specific assignment for the potential cities, areas, and hospitals before accepting any crisis travel nurse job.

#2: There Is Risk Involved — Follow Safety Protocols

There is always a risk involved with being a crisis travel nurse.

Risk is one of the reasons why pay is higher for a crisis travel nurse than a regular staff or travel nurse.

Consider the risks and be aware of all safety protocols before accepting a crisis travel nurse job.

For example, with COVID-19, the major risk is that you will be exposed to the virus.

You can follow protocol by:

  • Wearing PPE while at work.
  • Wearing a mask in public.
  • Social distancing in public.
  • Getting tested when necessary.

#3: If The Pay Looks Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is

A crisis travel nurse does get paid more than a regular staff nurse or regular travel nurse. Where there is a greater risk, there is a greater reward.

But be wary of contracts that are offering insanely high pay amounts. 

Contracts that offer extremely high pay often get cut or shorten because of budget reasons.

While the high pay is a huge benefit of crisis travel nurse jobs, consider contracts with reasonable pay to avoid losing the contract altogether.

Find The Best Crisis Travel Nurse Jobs With Trusted Nurse Staffing

When a crisis strikes, crisis travel nurses are in high demand.

If you have a nursing license, you don’t need any extra credentials to be qualified for a crisis travel nurse job.

If you’re interested in a crisis travel nurse job, Trusted Nurse Staffing can help set you up with one that is just right for you.

By creating a free profile, you can receive 24/7 recruiter support with Trusted Nurse Staffing. 

Your recruiter can offer guidance and insight on potential crisis travel nursing assignments and locations and help you find a crisis nurse job that works for you.