How does one become a Travel Nurse?

A friend asked me today “How does one become a travel nurse?” I have given it some consideration and come to the following step-by-step instructions:

1. Divorce your husband. If you choose not to divorce him, realize that he will probably divorce you before your finished with Nursing School.

2. Give custody of your children to your parents or another responsible adult. If you think you’ll have time for Nursing School and KIDS….think again.

3. Aclimate yourself to sleeping only 2-4 hours a day. Between the reading assignments, the studying for exams, clinicals, and two to three part-time jobs…this is all the sleep your going to get. If you did not follow steps 1 and 2 then plan on 1-3 hours of sleep.

4. Take a seminar on self-esteem. If anything can break a persons self-esteem it’s nursing instructors.

5. Prepare for failure.

Wow….I wrote the above back in 2005 and never finished or published it.  I think the thoughts listed above are still quite correct.  In addition, I would add the following.

1.  Get two SOLID years of experience in your specialty before you even consider travel nursing.  Your going to be thrown to the wolves when you arrive in a new hospital because “your making the big bucks” so everyone thinks you should work harder to “earn your pay”.

2.  Work as a car salesman for at least a year to get your haggling/negotiating skills in check; your going to need them when dealing with all the recruiters and different companies out there.

3.  Buy a good pair of shoes.  This isn’t just for Travel Nurses, but nurses everywhere.

4.  Gather a good amount of emergency cash in your savings account.  If you want the reasons for this; just read:   The Recent Drama   or   Just a Simple or Not So Simple Rant

5.  Go with an open mind and an adventurous spirit and enjoy your surroundings.

6.  When things get hard, remember:  IT’s only 13 Weeks!!