Local travel nursing is becoming a hot trend in the nursing profession as experienced registered nurses (RNs) look for more lucrative career options. While opportunities are plenty for nurses willing to travel longer distances, staying close to home doesn’t put you out of the travel nursing game.
Choosing to work as a local travel nurse can bridge the gap between supply and demand. Healthcare providers struggling to overcome staffing issues benefit the most from these arrangements. Rural hospitals are among the healthcare facilities relying the most on travel nurses to meet the healthcare needs of their communities.
In this guide, you will learn:
- What is a local travel nurse?
- What are the pros and cons of local travel nursing?
- How do you become a local travel nurse?
- How much does a local travel nurse make?
- What are the next steps to becoming a local travel nurse?
What is a local travel nurse?
A local travel nurse is an RN who works short-term travel jobs within their hometowns or nearby locations. Working as a local travel nurse will allow you to return home at the end of your workday or your days off, which is a definite perk of the job.
Taking a local travel nursing position near your current location provides flexibility to learn about different hospitals and healthcare philosophies. If you eventually would like to settle into a permanent staff position, local travel nursing gives you an opportunity to explore your options.
It helps to have some of the following characteristics if you hope to excel as a travel nurse:
- Ability to thrive in challenging situations. Being the new nurse on the team takes a special kind of patience.
- Ability to learn quickly. As a local travel nurse, you must adapt to new organizational systems, workflows, and management styles.
- Ability to appreciate new learning experiences. Every new local travel nurse assignment brings with it the opportunity to learn new things and to help you build your knowledge base.
What are the pros and cons of local travel nursing?
There are of pros and cons of local travel nursing. Let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages to help you decide if local travel nursing is right for you.
|Limited travel costs||Narrows opportunity for travel contracts|
|Not feeling homesick||Lose the ability to serve different patient populations|
|Close to family and friends||Longer commute/temporary living arrangements|
|Stipends and other financial perks||Temporary housing may be needed for longer commutes|
|No need to haul a lot of luggage, furniture, or other living essentials||Lose the ability to see more of the country by staying local|
|Familiarity with service area||Floating schedules can put you outside your nursing specialty/focus area|
Nurses unfamiliar with the ins and outs of local travel nursing may not know what the job entails. There is a difference between travel nursing and local travel nursing. One involves trekking across the state or the country to fill nursing shortage needs. The other, as its name implies, involves only local travel.
These are just a few of the pros and cons of becoming a local travel nurse. Most nursing professionals have found the pros outweigh the cons, but only you can decide if this career move is right for you. Make your own pros and cons list to help with your choice.
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How do you become a local travel nurse?
To become a local travel nurse, you first must become a licensed registered nurse (RN). The first step requires earning an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Nursing (BSN). Some travel nurse agencies only accept candidates with BSNs, so be sure to check the requirements when applying. Once you earn your degree, you must sit for the NCLEX-RN exam.
Many healthcare agencies require a minimum amount of experience. You can benefit from having certifications or work in certain specialties.
Some local travel nurses work as home health nurses. Agencies that provide nurses for this type of in-home service focus on older adults and adults with disabilities who wish to receive care in the comfort of their homes. Among other pros and cons, home health nursing can be an alternative for local travel nurses who do not want to work in a hospital setting.
How much does a local travel nurse make?
Local travel nurses typically make more money than staff nurses. How much you make depends on the staffing agency or healthcare facility hiring you. The monthly salary for travel nurses averages out to $9,790 and may vary depending on hours worked or bonuses.
As a local travel nurse, you also may qualify for housing and travel stipends, depending on how far from home you work. According to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidelines, travel stipends are tax-free if you work away from your “tax home.”
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What are the next steps to becoming a local travel nurse?
Interested in learning more about a career as a local travel nurse? Talking to other local travel nurses can help answer any nagging questions or concerns you may have before taking the plunge. Some other places you can turn for information include the following helpful agencies, organizations, and societies:
- American Travel Health Nurses Association (ATHNA)
- National Association of Travel Healthcare Organizations (NATHO)
- Professional Association of Nurse Travelers (PAN Travelers)
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