Nurse working on laptop computer

How Does Travel Nursing Work


Travel nursing is when a Registered Nurse with experience in a particular specialty takes a contract at a facility.  These contracts can vary in length but the majority of them are 13 weeks (3 months).  The process to how a Nurse is applies, interviews and obtains this contract will be outlined here.

Application Process

In order to be submitted to these positions, nurses must work through whats called an “agency”.  They are the company that helps organize a “profile” for the nurse.  These include a Resume, References, Certs, and any other information the facility if asking of applicants.   We have outlined different AGENCIES and how to select them in a previous blog.  Once you have a profile built by an agency, you will have jobs to select from.  These jobs will be in different cities all around the country depending on what you and your recruiter have discussed.

Let’s say you wanted to apply to a position in San Francisco, California because you spoke to your recruiter about checking out Northern California.  Once a job opens, the agency receives information about the job in a “job order”.  They will send out information about this job to you and if you so chose, you can have your profile sent so you can be considered for the position.  It’s of course a good idea to go over facility specific information, cost of living for the area and anything you might need to know before accepting the job.  This is because the next step is potentially getting a call from the Nursing manager.

The Interview

If your profile is selected, you will receive a call from the nursing manager.  When you ask?  Now this is the tricky part.  There’s no rhyme or reason to when you might get a call from the facility.  Ultimately it comes down to whenever that nursing manager is submitted your profile and decides to call candidates about their travel nurse opening.  There’s a chance no call comes.  It’s a good rule of thumb to give it around 2-4 business days before thinking they went with another candidate.  The agency sometimes receives notifications that the position has been filled but not always.  Your recruiter should know this information.


Let’s say you get the call, often times, the call will consist of you speaking with a nursing manager.  They will talk about the unit and what type of patient populations you can expect to encounter.  They will also go over things like call requirements, weekend requirements and floating responsibilities.  Once the interview takes place, you then notify your recruiter of the call.  He may ask you information about who you spoke with.  This is because they will be asking their account manager to reach out to the facility to try and get an “Official Offer” for you.  An “Offer” is when the facility thinks the interview went well enough to give you the contract and they have sent the start date, length, unit, and accepted time off (if submitted with profile) for the position.

Confirmation / Contract

Once you give a “Verbal confirmation” to your recruiter, you will be heading towards signing your contract.  A verbal confirmation allows the recuiter to accept the job on your behalf and let the facility know, you will be taking them up on their offer.  A contract will be sent to you from the agency.  You will go over this contract line by line with the recruiter.  If everything checks out, you sign and you are officially a Travel Nurse! *Confetti Falls* … Sort of


Contracts are not guaranteed and there is going to be a few steps before your first day.  You will need to become “Compliant”.  This is sending over all documents required to work for the facility.  We will go over the Compliance Process in another blog.  Of course you need to actually get to the area by the start date and find housing.


If you’re convinced travel nursing is for you, learn how to become a travel nurse from us.

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