If you are a licensed practical nurse (LPN) that is a little bit adventurous and wants to see the country while making some good money, you may want to consider becoming involved in a travel nursing agency. As a LPN travel nurse, you will travel around the country or in your state to temporarily provide relief to health care facilities that are strained on man power, or as we like to say “nurse power. “ By working in the travel nursing industry, you will gain an amazing amount of experience while being challenged to provide the best possible care to your patients.
What Is a LPN Travel Nurse
The concept of travel nursing has come about due to the shortage of nurses that currently is going on and expected to continue for some time. The idea is simple; a health care facility will contact one of the travel nursing agencies and express their desire for some temporary workers. The agency will then contract the necessary amount of nurses to meet the demand.
Those licensed practical nurses that are part of the travel nursing wave, you will be performing the same functions as an LPN anywhere. You will still provide direct personal care for your patients the only difference is you will not be working in the same place day after day. Some of your duties while travel nursing as a LPN may include:
- Keeping records of food and fluid intake
- Assisting in the completion of medical forms
- Helping feed patients that are unable to feed themselves
- Taking and recording vitals such as blood pressure, heart rate, respiration rate and so on
- Preparing and possibly administering ordered injections
- Educating patient and family on good health habits
- Gathering patient’s health information
- Assisting with patient’s personal hygiene
- Collecting and recording lab samples
How to Become One
If you are wondering how you too can join the ranks of LPN travel nursing, there are a few requirements that must be completed first. This would include the following:
- Completion of an accredited LPN program
- Passing of the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX PN) in your state
- At least one year of experience working full-time as a LPN
- Apply to a travel nursing agency
- Pass any additional state license exams if you would like to work out of state
Travel Nursing Contracts
Once you have been accepted by a travel nursing agency, the next step is setting up the parameters of your travel distance. It is natural for a new travel nurse to say that they will go anywhere needed, but normally it is best to start out slow and closer to home. This will help you get a bit more acclimated to the entire process and how you will be able to deal with the amount of changes you will experience.
Another important aspect of your work with a travel nursing agency will be that of your specific licenses and specialty certifications. If you have taken the NCLEX PN in other states and qualified to be employed in those states, you will have a greater range to be employed. The same can be said for specialty certifications that may give you the edge when a regular LPN might not cut the mustard.
Once the travel nursing agency has been contacted for a position, the agency will handle the negotiations. The length of these contracts varies in time but usually is short term. You will be handed a contract by your agency that specifies the number of hours per week, the length of time and the hourly wage. The health care facility that hired your agency will pay the agency which in turn will pay you.
You will find that most of the travel nursing agencies will often pay for your expense such as food, housing, transportation and licensing or certification costs. Some of these agencies also have insurance and retirement plans, like a 401K. Any uncompensated expenses could be tax deductible at the end of the year, so contact your tax person for specifics.
Advantages of a LPN Travel Nurse
Becoming an LPN travel nurse can be an amazing experience with loads of advantages over the normal work of an LPN. Some of these advantages could include:
- Flexibility of schedule – you can work when you want to work or take time off
- Ability to accept or decline assignments
- Higher wages
- Traveling to new places
- Gaining practical experiences
- Paid training and licensing
- Meeting new people
- Continuing education benefits
As you can see, there could be some pretty good advantages to become a LPN travel nurse. Plus, if you are adventurous and have trouble sticking to one place, this could be the perfect position. The choice is up to you if you would like to start a new career in the world of LPN travel nursing.