Discover the Role of a Travel Nurse: Job Duties and Responsibilities


A travel nurse is a registered nurse who accepts a short-term assignment in a different city, state, or country. They are in high demand, owing to their adaptability and willingness to be flexible in their job function. The advantages of being a travel nurse are many. They offer a unique opportunity to work in different medical settings and gain expertise in one’s profession. Moreover, travel nurses enjoy job stability, medical benefits, and competitive pay rates.

Job Description:

A typical travel nursing job involves working in hospitals, clinics, medical facilities, or other medical settings where the demand for nursing professionals is high. Nurses can choose to work at different locations across the country, depending on availability and personal choice. Some nurses may even choose to work abroad in countries such as Australia or New Zealand.

Travel nursing assignments can last anywhere from 13 weeks to a year, with a typical duration of 13 weeks. Travel nurses must be prepared to work varying shifts, including 8-hour, 10-hour, or 12-hour shifts. In some cases, travel nurses may be required to work on weekends or holidays, depending on the needs of the healthcare facility.

The job functions of a travel nurse are the same as those of a regular registered nurse. They are responsible for providing patient care, administering medications, and monitoring vital signs. Travel nurses must be knowledgeable in various medical fields, including emergency medicine, critical care, surgery, and obstetrics.

In addition to the routine nursing duties, travel nurses must also be proficient in charting, documentation, and reporting. They must maintain accurate records of each patient encounter, including medication administration, treatments, and procedures. Travel nurses must also have excellent communication skills as they must share information with other healthcare providers, patients, and their families.


To become a travel nurse, one must hold a current nursing license in their respective state or country. They must have at least one year of experience working as a registered nurse, preferably in a hospital setting. In some cases, a travel nurse must have specific training in a particular medical field, such as critical care or emergency medicine.

Travel nursing agencies typically require candidates to hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Earning a BSN is highly recommended as it opens up a wider range of job opportunities and offers a higher earning potential. Some travel nursing agencies may also require specific certifications such as Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), or Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS).


Travel nurses must possess a unique set of skills that distinguish them from other registered nurses. They must have excellent communication skills, as they must interact with a diverse group of patients, healthcare providers, and other healthcare staff. Travel nurses must also be adaptable, self-motivated, and able to work independently.

Flexibility is a key skill for a travel nurse, as they may need to work in different healthcare facilities, in varying roles, and with different patient demographics. They must also be able to adapt to different healthcare cultures, policies, and procedures.

Other essential skills for a travel nurse include the ability to think critically, problem-solve, and manage time effectively. They must be able to assess a patient’s condition quickly and take appropriate action. Additionally, travel nurses must be detail-oriented, organized, and capable of multitasking.

Compensation and Benefits:

Travel nurses enjoy a competitive salary and a range of benefits, including medical, dental, vision, and life insurance. They also typically receive paid time off and holiday pay. Travel nurses may also receive housing stipends, travel reimbursement, licensing and certification reimbursement, and retirement benefits.

Salary rates vary depending on the location, type of assignment, and experience level of the travel nurse. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for a registered nurse in the United States was $73,300 in 2019. However, travel nurses can earn significantly more based on their location and assignment type.

Some travel nursing agencies offer bonuses and incentives to their nurses, such as referral bonuses, completion bonuses, and loyalty bonuses. These incentives can add to a travel nurse’s earning potential and make the job even more rewarding.

Career Advancement:

Travel nursing can provide an excellent opportunity for career advancement. Travel nurses can gain experience in multiple medical fields and develop their skills in various areas. They can take on leadership roles as charge nurses, preceptors, or clinical educators.

Some travel nurses may also decide to pursue advanced nursing degrees such as a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). These advanced degrees can lead to higher paying jobs or leadership roles and open up a variety of career opportunities in the field of nursing.


Travel nursing offers a unique opportunity for registered nurses to explore different healthcare settings and expand their skill set. The job can be challenging but rewarding, providing competitive pay rates, job stability, and a range of benefits. Travel nurses must possess excellent communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills, be adaptable, and work independently.

If you are a registered nurse seeking a dynamic and rewarding career, travel nursing may be the perfect fit for you. With the right qualifications and skills, you can work with a reputable travel nursing agency and explore the many opportunities available in this exciting field.