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International Travel Nurse Career GuideExplore the exciting role of International Travel Nursing, involving temporary assignments in global healthcare settings. These nurses adapt to various systems and cultures, often filling critical gaps during staff shortages or special projects. Ideal for adaptable and culturally competent individuals, this career offers a unique opportunity to impact healthcare worldwide.

Getting Started: International Travel Nurse FAQ

What is an International Travel Nurse?

An international travel nurse is a registered nurse who works in various healthcare settings around the world on a temporary basis. International travel nurses typically sign contracts for a specified period of time, often filling in for local nurses during peak times, covering staff shortages, or assisting with special projects or events.

International travel nurses need to be highly adaptable and flexible, as they work in different healthcare systems, cultures, and environments. They work alongside local staff in a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and community health programs. Cultural competence is essential to working with local staff and providing effective and respectful care to patients.

International travel nurses must obtain the necessary licensing and certifications, visas and sponsorship to practice in a specific country. Often these involve interviews and examination processes. Additionally, some assignments may require proficiency in the local language, while others may be in English-speaking regions. Travel nurses are often responsible for making their own travel arrangements, including flights and accommodation, however, some placement agencies may assist with these logistics and may offer housing stipends.

Overall, international travel nursing can be a rewarding and challenging career option for nurses who enjoy adventure, cultural diversity, and the opportunity to make a positive impact on healthcare worldwide.

What does an International Travel Nurse do?

International travel nurses work in a variety of healthcare settings and as such their daily duties will depend on their contracted position. Regardless of the specific position, all travel nurses must collaborate with local healthcare professionals, adapt to varying healthcare systems, and deliver culturally competent patient care.

What is the demand for International Travel Nurses?

The demand for international travel nurses is driven by global healthcare staffing shortages, seasonal fluctuations, and specific needs in different regions. As healthcare facilities seek to address these challenges, international travel nurses play a crucial role in temporarily filling gaps, providing specialized skills, and contributing to the delivery of quality care in diverse settings.

How much do International Travel Nurses make?

International travel nursing salaries can vary widely depending on many factors such as the destination country, the specific healthcare facility, the nurse’s level of experience and area of expertise, bonuses, and stipends.

According to Nurse.org, here are the top 10 highest paying countries for nurses:
  1. Switzerland - $99,839.48 USD
  2. Luxembourg - $94,923.53 USD
  3. Denmark - $83,888.94 USD
  4. USA - $81,22i0 USD
  5. Virgin Islands - $80,916 USD
  6. Australia - $71,566.52 USD
  7. Dubai - $71,383.88 USD
  8. Canada - $70,482.40 USD
  9. Norway - $69,754.12 USD
  10. Ireland - $60,890.13 USD
It's important for prospective international travel nurses to research salary ranges in the destination country, understand the terms of their contracts, and carefully consider all aspects of the compensation package.

For more accurate and up-to-date information, individuals considering international travel nursing should consult with reputable recruitment agencies, healthcare facilities, or professional organizations that specialize in international nursing placements.

How do you become an International Travel Nurse?

  • Here are the key stages of achieving your career as an International Travel Nurse:

  • Get an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
    You must first complete a nursing program. This can be an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). A BSN is often preferred and can open more opportunities, but an ADN is a valid pathway to becoming an RN.
  • Pass the NCLEX-RN
    After completing your nursing education, you must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to become a licensed registered nurse. This is a requirement in all states.
  • Work as a Registered Nurse, meeting the requirements of the country you want to work in
    While not a formal educational requirement, most travel nursing agencies require you to have at least one to two years of clinical experience in a hospital setting. Specialized areas, like intensive care or emergency room nursing, may require additional experience.
  • Gain any specialty certifications
    Depending on your area of specialty, additional certifications may be beneficial or required. For example, a Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN) certification for those working in intensive care units.
  • You're ready to work as an International Travel Nurse!
    In this exciting and varied career, you’ll have the opportunity to work with people of many different cultures and be exposed to a variety of medical treatments and procedures. It can also offer a pathway to taking care of patients in countries where your skills are needed most.

Where can an International Travel Nurse work?

Travel nurses work in a variety of healthcare settings across different locations, depending on the needs of their assignments. Some common places where travel nurses are employed include:
  • Hospitals: Many travel nurses work in hospitals, including large medical centers, teaching hospitals, and smaller community hospitals. They may work in various departments such as emergency rooms, intensive care units, medical-surgical floors, or specialized units like pediatrics or oncology.
  • Outpatient Clinics: Some travel nurses take positions in outpatient settings, providing care in environments such as doctor's offices, walk-in clinics, or specialty clinics.
  • Long-Term Care Facilities: Opportunities also exist in long-term care, including nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and assisted living facilities, especially given the aging population.
  • Schools and Universities: Travel nurses can work in educational settings, providing healthcare services to students and staff.
  • Public Health and Community Clinics: In these settings, travel nurses might focus on preventive care, health education, and serving underserved populations.
  • Home Health Care: Some travel nurses work in home health care, providing nursing services to patients in their homes.
  • Telehealth Services: With the rise of telemedicine, some travel nurses may also work remotely, providing care and consultation through digital platforms.
  • Crisis or Disaster Areas: Travel nurses are often in demand in areas experiencing a healthcare crisis, natural disaster, or pandemic, where they provide critical support during times of need.
  • Cruise ships and tourist areas: An international travel nurse might work on board a cruise ship over multiple itineraries or in clinics and healthcare facilities in resort areas and other destinations popular for tourism.
The variety of work environments allows travel nurses to gain diverse experiences and skills, making the role both challenging and rewarding.
Becoming an international travel nurse offers a unique blend of professional development and cultural exploration. Our guide outlines the journey to a rewarding career that combines nursing expertise with global travel. Starting with acquiring a the necessary degree credentials and gaining clinical experience, aspiring international travel nurses must navigate various requirements, including specific licensing and language proficiency tests. Researching destinations and understanding the healthcare systems, culture, and language of potential countries is crucial. Find out more here.
What's the average salary for a Travel Nurse in the U.S.?
The average annual salary for a travel nurse (RN) in the U.S. is $81,000, according to 2023 data from Payscale.com.
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A Travel Nurse works for an independent staffing agency, filling temporary positions from eight to thirteen weeks in the U.S. and one to two years abroad.
Are you a nurse looking to come work in the U.S.? Here are the steps for getting started.
work in the US
Join an Organization
Become a member of an International Nurse organization to find career opportunities, learn from your colleagues, and support the profession.

International Council of Nurses (ICN)

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