What Is a Travel Rehab Nurse and Is It the Right Career for You? 987839088534212 [9:30 AM] Katie Iglewski

When you’re a rehab travel nurse, no two days are alike. 

In a single afternoon, you’re likely to be working with a knee replacement post-op, a stroke survivor, and multiple trauma patients. 

But what exactly does a rehab travel nurse do — and how can you prepare for an assignment as a travel nurse in a busy rehab unit?

Whether you’re an experienced nurse or just beginning your nursing career, rehab travel nursing may be a great option you will want to consider. 

In this article, we delve into exactly what a rehab travel nurse does, what it takes to become one, and how you can get started on the path of this exciting career.


Table of Contents


What Is a Travel Rehab Nurse?

A travel rehab nurse works on the road doing temporary assignments. 

Travel rehab nurses focus on helping people who are experiencing chronic illness and disabilities, working with them to achieve optimal function and health and adapt to a new, possibly altered lifestyle.

If you are considering becoming a travel rehab nurse, Trusted Nurse Staffing would love to help make it happen. 

The team at Trusted Nurse Staffing will:

  • Help you create a strong resume.
  • Find out exactly what you want in a travel nursing assignment. 
  • Put together a list of assignments that meet your criteria. 
  • Submit your resume to your top choices. 
  • Walk you through your job offers to ensure you get what you want.
  • Answer any questions you have while on an assignment. 
  • Support you through any negotiations and job extensions. 
  • Help you choose your next travel nursing adventure.


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What Do Travel Rehab Nurses Do?

Travel rehab nurses help disabled or chronically ill patients move toward independence by working with them to set realistic goals and complete their individualized treatment plans. 

Depending on the assignment, a travel rehab nurse may be caring for patients who have:

  • Suffered an injury to their brain or spine, such as a stroke or paralysis.
  • Had a major surgery, such as an organ transplant, limb amputation, or joint replacement.
  • An ongoing illness, such as pulmonary disease, cerebral palsy, or Parkinson’s disease.

Travel rehab nurses may have a wide variety of tasks to complete in a shift that may include:

  • Working as a part of a multidisciplinary team to coordinate with other providers 
  • Managing patient paperwork
  • Providing emotional care and support for their patients and their families
  • Updating patient records 
  • Creating patient care plans
  • Providing education to patients and their families
  • Performing daily patient care like monitoring vital signs, administering medications, or performing treatments


Where Do Travel Rehab Nurses Usually Work?

A travel rehab nurse may practice in diverse settings that include:

  • Hospitals
  • Community and home health settings
  • Outpatient rehabilitation centers
  • Inpatient rehabilitation centers
  • Industrial health centers
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Insurance companies
  • Private practice
  • Schools


How Long Are Travel Rehab Nurse Assignments?

The average length of time for a rehab travel nursing assignment is 13 weeks. 

But at Trusted Nurse Staffing, we offer our nurses the flexibility of contracts that range all the way from 4 to 52 weeks. Talk with your TNS recruiter to find out more.


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What Are the Requirements To Become a Travel Rehab Nurse?

Different states require different licensures, but below we will outline the basic requirements you will need to fulfill to become a rehab travel nurse

It is great to know that at Trusted Nurse Staffing, we help our nurses through each of these processes — and we even reimburse you for the cost of your continuing education units (CEUs) and licensures.



If you are hoping to secure a position as a travel rehab nurse, you will need at least an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).

An ADN takes two years, whereas a BSN can take four years to complete.


Pass the NCLEX-RN

Once you have a BSN or ADN under your belt, the next step in becoming a travel rehab nurse is passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to become a registered nurse. 

The NCLEX-RN is a nationwide examination for the licensing of nurses in the United States, Canada, and Australia and tests the competency of nursing school graduates to ensure they are ready to treat patients. 



After gaining experience in a rehabilitation setting, a rehab nurse may choose to pursue certification as a Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse (CRRN). 

Besides advancing a nurse’s skills and knowledge, this widely recognized certification boosts both their potential for promotion within their field and a higher salary.


How Much Do Travel Rehab Nurses Get Paid?

On average, the salary of a staff rehab nurse is $86,397 per year. Traveling rehab nurses generally make even more.

The salary for a travel rehab nurse will depend on a variety of factors, that include: 

  • The type of facility they’re working in — A travel nurse with an assignment in a large hospital is likely to receive higher pay than a travel nurse in a small community health setting. 
  • The location of the facility — Assignments in more affluent areas of the country are likely to have budgets — meaning higher wages for travel rehab nurses.
  • The nurse’s level of education and certifications — In general, a BSN degree pays more than an ASN. The addition of special certifications is also likely to increase the paycheck even more.
  • The timing of the assignment — A facility that is desperate for rehab travel nurses (as was the case during the COVID-19 pandemic) will most likely offer a higher salary. 


Is it Easy To Find Rehab Travel Nursing Jobs?

It is when you use Trusted Nurse Staffing’s Pronto app. With Pronto, it’s a breeze to find rehab travel nurse jobs all over the country. 

Rehab travel nurse jobs are currently in high demand, and travel nursing is expected to remain a highly marketable career indefinitely due to:

  • An aging U.S. population that requires more care than ever.
  • Many senior nurses approaching retirement age.
  • Fewer people entering the nursing field.
  • A lack of nurse educators in higher learning facilities.


travel rehab nurse


What Are the Benefits of Becoming a Travel Rehab Nurse?

Rehab travel nurses get to help people on a long (and possibly life-changing) healing journey and have the blessing of watching their patients progress from beginning to end. Some other benefits of travel nursing include perks such as:

  • Bringing in a higher salary than staff nurses
  • Gaining experience in a wide variety of healthcare settings 
  • Padding your resume
  • Taking exciting adventures
  • Meeting new people


Is There a Downside To Rehab Travel Nursing?

Along with the many benefits of rehab travel nursing, there may be some downsides to consider, as well. These can include:

  • Always being the “new guy”
  • The loneliness of being on the road without family or friends
  • Nurse burnout

There’s always a risk, but one of the great things about travel nursing is that you can take breaks between assignments. This gives you plenty of time for visiting family and friends, unwinding, and taking vacations of your own.


rehab travel nursing


How To Decide if Rehab Travel Nursing Is Right for You

What does it take to make an effective rehab travel nurse? You are well on your way to becoming a great rehab travel nurse if you:

  • Like helping people improve their quality of life
  • Want to experience diverse nursing opportunities in a variety of healthcare facilities
  • Love adventure
  • Want to explore new locations
  • Are ready for an exciting change


Qualities of a Travel Rehab Nurse

Each nursing specialty requires its nurses to possess different qualities and skills in order to succeed. Here are a few of the skills a rehab nurse uses regularly:

  • Empathy — A traveling rehab nurse must have the empathy it takes to provide the highest-quality care. They also should have a warm, caring bedside manner.
  • Communication — They will regularly be in communication with patients, families, and other health care providers.
  • Physical strength — Rehab nurses often have to physically move heavy patients or equipment, and often have long shifts.
  • Organization — They are responsible for keeping patient records and may also be required to coordinate schedules, budgets, or training for other nurses if they are in an administrative role.
  • Decision-making — Rehab travel nurses are constantly required to make decisions regarding patient care.
  • Observation — Travel rehab nurses are regularly monitoring their patients for changes in their condition and observing them long-term to see if care plans are effective.


Trusted Nurse Staffing Can Help You Get Started as a Travel Rehab Nurse

If you’re ready to pursue a job as a travel rehab nurse, you’ll want to travel with Trusted Nurse Staffing. 

TNS nurses get: 

  • The industry’s highest pay rate
  • 401(k) with a 4% match after 1,000 hours and 1 year of employment
  • Full-time, part-time, and per diem positions
  • Housing, meal, and travel stipends
  • Overtime and double time 
  • Weekly paychecks
  • Direct deposit
  • Customize benefits packages
  • Employee-sponsored Blue Cross & Blue Shield Health insurance
  • And so much more

Let us help you begin a great adventure in rehab travel nursing! Check for available positions throughout the U.S. on Pronto today.


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