The job duties of a travel nurse include monitoring vital signs, collecting samples for laboratory tests, etc. The duties may also vary according to the type of employer and specialty of the nurse.
They say, it is one of the most important professions in the healthcare industry today, as nurses act as a conduit between doctors and patients. The industry is facing a shortage of qualified nursing staff and this has contributed to the rising demand for traveling nurses. The only difference between a traveling nurse and other nurses is that they travel to different locations for short-term appointments. There are recruitment agencies that are specifically dedicated to sourcing for these jobs. The demand for these professionals can be from hospitals, group practices, or private clients, and the job profile may vary according to the employer.
They perform almost the same duties as normal nurses, as they are mostly hired by hospitals and clinics facing a staff crunch. Traveling nurses working on private client assignments will have to provide additional services, as per the patient’s needs.
The job description involves:
- Monitoring vital signs of the patient like blood pressure and pulse readings is one of the most basic tasks. They not only monitor the vital signs, but will also take action, if there are unusual readings.
- They also collect blood and urine samples from the patients and send it for laboratory tests. They will interact with patients, and if necessary, apprise them of the reasons for the lab tests.
- They are also responsible for giving timely medication to patients and advise them about the medicine schedule. In some cases, they will also administer IVs to patients under the doctor’s supervision or on their own.
- Nurses will also help patients with their physical rehabilitation and assist them with physiotherapy. They also teach the use of medical aids like crutches and wheelchairs, to patients recovering from an accident or surgery.
- In hospitals and other settings, they will also note the medical history of patients and prepare them for doctor’s examinations. They will also give them post-examination instructions and advise them about the treatment plan.
- They are also in charge of looking into the financial aspect, as in some workplaces, they deal with insurance paperwork. Under clinical setting, at times, they are required to handle the billing section of the doctor’s practice.
- A travel nurse’s job profile also involves playing an integral role in patient diagnosis, by recommending pertinent diagnostic tests like X-rays and CT scans. They also contribute to the treatment plan, along with the doctors, and decide the best recourse for the patient.
Education and Salary
The educational requirements for registered nurses (RNs) is to pass a two-year nursing program from an accredited institute. They are also required to clear a national licensing exam, administered by the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). There are other ways of becoming a registered nurse, like pursuing a 4 year bachelor’s degree in nursing.
Registered nurses can work as traveling nurses, where their salaries can range anywhere between USD 25 to USD 35 per hour. If you check the salary statistics for travel nurses working on a 1 year assignment, in states like California, they range around USD 72,000. Some of the other high-paying states include Florida, where the salary is USD 68,000 per year and Texas, where it is USD 65,000 per year.
The job also involves interacting with patients and their family members for answering treatment-related queries. Nurses who have personal qualities like patience, and interpersonal skills do well in this profession. Analysts also predict that the job outlook for this profession in the coming years is great.