Maybe you’re a registered nurse who is starting to feel bored working at the same hospital day after day.
You love what you do, but you could really use a change of scenery.
Your lifestyle is pretty flexible, you enjoy traveling, and you have a desire to help wherever there is a need.
Or maybe you’re already a travel nurse who is used to 13-week contracts and would like to move around a little more often.
In either case, short-term travel nurse contracts could be perfect for you.
This guide explains why travel nurses are so important, the major benefits of taking short-term nursing assignments, and how you can get started with your travel nurse career today.
Table of Contents
- Why Short-Term Nursing Assignments Are Available
- 3 Reasons Why Hospitals Need Short-Term Travel Nurses for Rapid Response
- 3 Big Benefits of Short-Term Nursing Assignments for Travel Nurses
- Possible Cons of Short-Term Travel RN Assignments
- Ready to Look for Short-Term Travel Nurse Jobs? What Staffing Agencies Need From You
- How Trusted Nurse Staffing Can Offer You Short-Term Travel Nurse Assignments
Why Short-Term Nursing Assignments Are Available
Travel nurses are trained registered nurses who are sent to hospitals and facilities that have short-term staffing needs.
To qualify for short-term nursing assignments, you must:
- Hold a nursing degree and have passed the NCLEX exam
- Generally have a minimum of 12 months of recent acute care experience in your specialty of choice
- Provide references
- Obtain necessary certifications
- Obtain RN licensure in the state where you’ll work or use a multi-state license based on the Nurse Licensure Compact
Travel nurse contracts are typically about 13 weeks long, but they can vary depending on the job and facility.
Short-term travel nurse contacts are less than 13 weeks in length — anywhere from 2 weeks to 12 weeks.
Short-term travel nurse jobs may become available in the following circumstances:
- During medical crises when rapid response nurses are needed
- When nurses go on strike, leaving medical facilities with a nursing shortage
- Taking over for permanent nursing staff who are experiencing burnout
- When a nurse is out for short-term disability
- Nursing shortages in rural or smaller urban areas where resources can’t meet patient demand
If you’re a nurse who likes being on the go, meeting new people, and visiting new places, a short-term travel nurse assignment may be just what you’re looking for.
Trusted Nurse Staffing can help place you with a short-term travel nurse assignment across the nation when the demand is high and there is a need for nurses. Search for travel nurse jobs on Pronto today.
Rapid Response Travel Nurse
A rapid response travel nurse is the most common type of travel nurse because they are typically needed the most when there is a sudden increase in patients.
Rapid response nurses are usually:
- Able to start very quickly – typically within two days to two weeks.
- Good at working under pressure.
Flexible in their assignment length.
As a rapid response travel nurse, you might be able to negotiate for a better contract since you are usually needed quickly and on short notice. And you’ll likely have greater flexibility in the assignment length.
Travel Nurses Working During Nurse Strikes
Strike nurse travel jobs are usually available to help fill regular hospital staff positions while they are off of work due to a labor dispute.
In September 2019, nearly 6,500 nurses at 12 healthcare hospitals across four different states went on strike advocating for better patient care.
Then, around 2,000 nurses went on strike in Chicago.
Within one week, more than 8,000 nursing positions were left vacant, leaving hospitals across 5 different states in need of help caring for patients.
Later, in January 2023, 7,000 nurses went on strike at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx and Mount Sinai in Manhattan. The reasons for this strike had to do with too few nurses and improving work conditions.
As a strike nurse, you:
- Are probably needed very short-term, maybe a few days to a few weeks.
- Can receive high pay since hospitals are in dire need of nursing staff.
- Might have a few week’s notice (hospitals usually know a few weeks in advance if their staff will be striking).
3 Reasons Why Hospitals Need Short-Term Travel Nurses for Rapid Response
Short-term nursing assignments for rapid response happen quickly and are often an unexpected need.
There are three common reasons that hospitals tend to need short-term travel nurses for rapid response situations:
- When hospitals update medical software
- For filling remote positions
- An increased need for staff due to a crisis, natural disaster, etc.
Reason #1: Electronic Medical Records Conversions
Electronic medical records (EMR) conversion is when a hospital does an update on its medical software.
This means the hospital is having to pull staff members from the floor to do the necessary training, which leaves them with a need for nurses.
Nicole is an ICU nurse at a busy hospital. Every few months, she and her coworkers must undergo training to ensure they’re up-to-speed on how all of their medical software works.
These different training sessions can last hours, sometimes even the length of an entire shift, depending on the type of training.
Instead of operating understaffed, rapid-response travel nurses can be used to fill in during these times.
Reason #2: Remote Positions
Remote positions are considered “hard to fill” because they are not highly desired by nurses.
A remote position is a job at hospitals or clinics that are further away from civilization, like many travel nursing jobs in Montana.
They are often secluded and typically not as busy, so they can be hard to fill with steady full-time staff.
Because they’re hard to fill, they are often in need of extra staff.
As a short-term travel nurse, you can take on a remote position for a limited time and then be on your way to a new assignment in a matter of weeks — maybe another short-term assignment or a typical 13-week assignment.
Reason #3: Unexpected Fluctuation in Staffing or Patient Loads: 4 Crisis Scenarios
Sometimes hospitals experience an unexpected fluctuation in their staff or patients which leads to an increased need for more nurses. These fluctuations often happen when there is a crisis scenario, like:
- Flu season
- Natural disasters
- Man-made disasters
Trusted Staff Nursing works hard to help find your dream contracts across the country, whether they are rapid response contracts or not. Search jobs on Pronto today.
Scenario 1: Flu Season
Flu season generally begins around October and is most active between December and February. In many locations, flu season can last into the spring as late as May.
Although the flu mostly resolves on its own, it can also cause complications that can create an influx in hospitals.
Since the elderly are at greater risk for complications from the flu, states with higher populations of senior citizens — like Maine and Florida — may have a greater need for short-term travel nurses during flu season.
Scenario 2: Natural Disasters
Natural disasters can cause major injuries or illnesses that might cause an increase in patients at hospitals.
The following qualify as natural disasters:
- Landslides or mudslides
- Extreme heat
- Winter weather
In the event of a natural disaster, nurses can help with:
- Blood drives
- Health education (CPR, first aid)
- Staffing hospitals
- Providing extra resources
- Alleviating the strain of other care facilities like nursing homes
Scenario 3: Man-Made Disasters
A man-made disaster results from man-made hazards. They can be:
- Civil disturbances
- Terrorism attacks
- Biological or chemical threats
Scenario 4: Pandemics
A pandemic is a global illness that affects a large number of people, like COVID-19.
They typically cause hospitals to be at or over capacity, which creates a large demand for more nurses.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of travel nurses doubled as hospitals across the country responded to increased numbers of critically ill patients in their facilities. Travel nurses also saw an increase in salaries during the pandemic.
3 Big Benefits of Short-Term Nursing Assignments for Travel Nurses
Short-term nursing assignments might not be for everyone.
Maybe you don’t do well being distanced from your friends and family for any length of time.
Maybe you get lonely or homesick.
Maybe the continual job searching is stressful and not as stable as you’d like to be.
But if you’re committed to taking on short-term travel nurse contracts, there are some big benefits that come along with the job.
Benefit #1: Shorter Assignments and Flexibility
If you like to travel and have flexibility in your schedule and your life, short-term travel nurse contracts might be right for you.
The short contract lengths allow you to work in different hospitals doing different types of care all the time. You get to travel, see new places, and make new friends.
It’s also a flexible job because when one contract ends, you can take the time you want or need before seeking out another contract. Sometimes you have the option to extend your current contract, too.
Benefit #2: Great Pay
Being a travel nurse comes with great pay.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, short-term travel nurses were earning weekly salaries well over the historical averages. Some travel nurses were making up to $5,000 a week during the height of the pandemic, while most were earning around $3,000 to $4,000 a week.
Travel nurses also receive:
- Travel accommodations
- Housing accommodations
- Food stipend
If the demand is there, travel nurses can earn anywhere from $78,000 to over $100,000 per year.
Travel nurses also often have the ability to negotiate contracts, so there is an increased potential to make more money with each new assignment.
Benefit #3: Travel More Often
Short-term travel nurse jobs allow you to see many different parts of the country or world.
If you love to travel, this is a great way to get paid to do it.
You could spend two weeks working in New York then travel to Miami for six weeks before finishing up with a four-week assignment in rural West Virginia. In just three months’ time, you could earn top dollar while enjoying the big city, the beach, and the mountains.
You can check out different parts of the world, learn what and where you like or don’t like, and spend your free time exploring your new areas.
Possible Cons of Short-Term Travel RN Assignments
While the benefits of short-term travel RN assignments are appealing, the job might not be for everyone.
Some cons to short-term travel nurse jobs include:
- Feelings of homesickness or loneliness
- Navigating the logistics of travel (time changes, language barriers, travel stress)
- The many new contracts you have to negotiate, which mean varying pay rates
- Always learning how to work with a team who already knows one another well
- And more
Ready to Look for Short-Term Travel Nurse Jobs? What Staffing Agencies Need From You
Do you think working a short-term travel nurse job is right for you? A staffing agency can help find you great contracts and get you to work.
To become a travel nurse, you must:
- Have a nursing degree (LPN, ADN, BSN)
- Pass the NCLEX exam administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing
- Have at least 12 months of experience in your specialty
- Choose your preferences (setting, location, assignment length)
- Keep records of your licenses, certifications, and clinical records
- Have a great resume
A staffing agency is likely looking for someone who is:
- Willing to go at a moment’s notice
- Holds multiple state licenses
- A team player
How Trusted Nurse Staffing Can Offer You Short-Term Travel Nurse Assignments
Working short-term travel nurse assignments can be a fun and rewarding job. You can travel, negotiate your contracts, make good money, and have some flexibility with work.
You’ll also have access to these amazing benefits and perks:
- Travel, housing, and meal stipends
- Referral and completion bonuses
- Dental, health, and vision benefits
- Sign-on bonuses
- And more
Trusted Nurse Staffing has flexible contracts in all 50 states and can help find your dream job opportunities across the country.
Our Trusted Nurse Staffing representatives listen to your job preferences and work hard to find you the job you’re looking for. They walk with you every step of the way. And when your contract comes to an end, they’ll help you renew it or find your next assignment in a new location.
You can be sure your recruiter has your back and will act as your advocate during your assignment, whether it’s for moral support or to negotiate between you and your assigned facility.
If you’re ready to take on short-term travel RN assignments, click here to get started.