If you’re keen to travel and you’re a registered nurse (RN), you’re in the top-dollar seats. There are thousands of jobs in the US alone for travel nurses who, quite literally, get paid to travel.
The competition is stiff, and experience will count a lot when you apply for a job. Additionally, you will need a compelling travel nurse resume that shows those recruiting that you are ideal for the position.
Resume objective for travel nurses
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for RNs is projected to grow much faster than many other careers.
This is largely due to an increased emphasis on preventive care and the resultant demand for additional healthcare services. It is also because of increasing rates of chronic conditions including obesity and diabetes.
The recruitment company, Monster has found that travel nurses have been playing a critical role in the fight against COVID-19.
Nurses are commonly on the frontlines of the national pandemic crisis, and travel nurses have been helping to relieve staff nurses in hospitals that experience a continuing surge in patients. But there are a multitude of jobs in other settings from caring for the aged to perinatal positions.
To get in on the action, you need to make your resume stand out. One way is to use strong adjectives to describe your skills, talents, and passion for the job.
Although some recruiters consider the objective to be outdated, a forceful objective at the top of your resume can help you to stand out. But talk about you rather than the job.
Compassionate and caring registered nurse with an NLC license to travel. Patient, people-person willing to work long hours. Passionate about delivering quality care to those in need.
Resume skills for travel nurses
Travel nurses need the same qualifications and training as any other nurses. They must also be licensed. But to land the job you are punting for, you need to stand out from the crowd with a resume that communicates your personal skills and accomplishments.
The skills required of a good travel nurse will be the same as for all RNs … and more.
According to the Colorado Technical University, there are specific physical traits and personality characteristics, including communication skills and critical thinking, that enable travel nurses to do well in environments that change often.
They need to remain organized and detail-oriented while solving problems and juggling assignments. Compassion and emotional stability enable travel nurses to be resilient while coping with the inevitable stress of human suffering.
High stamina helps them to perform demanding physical tasks.
If they work internationally, travel nurses will be expected to have at least a working knowledge of the local language of the country.
There is software that some employers use to disqualify or identify the best applicants. For this reason, keywords are very important. These often relate to the mission, vision, or values of a company or specific words used in the job posting.
Good verbal and written communication | Critical thinking | Organized | English, French, and Spanish | Energetic | Excellent health | Patient management | Flexibility | Adaptability
Travel nurse work experience
We scoured job postings for travel nurses and noticed that while many companies prefer to employ nurses with experience, they don’t necessarily require experience in jobs that entailed traveling.
So, whatever qualification you have, the important thing is to get real-world nursing experience in a clinic, a hospital, or a doctor’s office.
When it comes to highlighting your work experience in your resume, the more experience you have in positions that required traveling, the better.
We also sampled numerous travel nurse resumes and found a great deal of them relied on their travel experience.
Just remember, travel nurses are registered nurses with a penchant for travel and the right skills to make them successful. If you are a registered nurse, just highlight areas that would make you the right candidate for a traveling job.
Sample Work Experience
Travel – Registered Nurse, 2020
Traveled within the Gulf Coast region assisting with COVID-19 screening and testing. Addressed concerns of residents and answered questions. Followed infection and control policies.
- Although licensing regulations had been relaxed so that more nurses could travel during the pandemic, I ensured I had a license to work in Louisiana.
- This assignment wasn’t about me, it was about my work ethics and I accepted the challenge to help the sickest of the sick.
- I didn’t allow fear to take over, but it was like working in a war zone. I believe the experience has strengthened my character and made me a better person.
- I mentored three LPN nurses who were working as travel nurses for the first time.
Banner Health, AZ
Travel Registered Nurse, Emergency Department, 2018 – 2019
Assessed, planned, implemented, evaluated, and documented the nursing care of patients. Designated licensed nurse carers to patients. Evaluated patient progress. Supervised nursing staff and workflow.
- This was a senior position that required specialized knowledge and critical judgment skills.
- Formulated hundreds of care and discharge plans for patients.
- Delivered detailed documents that described nursing interventions and patients’ response to treatment.
- Participated in research activities and wrote a paper on The Role of the Travel Nurse in Emergency Situations that was published in a local nursing journal.
Country Meadows Community, PA
Traveling LPN, 2016 – 2017
Undertook general nursing and did rounds with physicians. Followed their orders and monitored medications of residents. Educated retired residents and their families about health and wellness issues.
- Coached lesser qualified co-workers on how to monitor and support the needs of residents with urgency and responsiveness.
- Formed a bond with many of the residents and their loved ones.
- Used critical thinking to create care plans, all of which were approved by the physicians working in the retirement community.
- Frequently shared managerial responsibilities and served as manager on duty.
Travel nurse education
To become a travel nurse, you need to be a registered nurse, and to be a RN, you will either have a bachelor’s or associate’s degree, or a diploma, from an approved or accredited program. Some travel nurses hold a master’s degree, but it is seldom a requirement for job postings.
Gwynedd Mercy University in Pennsylvania offers traditional undergraduate degrees including a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. They also offer an intensive, full-time, 15-month Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree to graduates who hold a bachelor’s degree in another field.
They advise students outside of their campus to ensure that the nursing program they enroll in is accredited because this guarantees a specific standard of education that employers trust.
Two popular accreditation agencies are the Commission on Collegiate of Nursing Education (CCNE) and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, there are relatively few diploma programs and most are offered by medical centers and hospitals.
But regardless of the qualification, nurses can get a state license (see Certifications, below) and then become a travel nurse.
University of South Carolina, College of Nursing
Bachelor of Science in Nursing, 2017 – 2020
North Iowa Area Community College
Diploma in Practical Nursing (LPN), 2017 – 2019
With the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting that jobs in the nursing profession will increase by 12% from 2018 figures to 2028, investing time and some cash in a postgraduate nursing course can bring great rewards.
Similarly, you can upgrade your degree, for instance from an LPN to an associate degree (ADN), or even accelerate your bachelor’s degree to a master’s (MSN).
Courses take as little as 12 months though many take two or three years.
Peterson’s, an educational service company headquartered in Colorado, has compiled a list of online learning opportunities that nurses can use to advance their existing qualifications.
All are offered by reputable universities and colleges.
While not essential to get a job as a travel nurse, the higher your qualification, the better your remuneration will be.
But, in any case, all RNs are required to undertake continuing education courses. Although it varies, US states require 10 to 25 continuing education units (CEUs) to be completed every one to three years to maintain nursing licenses.
Essentially, continuing education will ensure that all RNs, including travel nurses, keep their hard skills updated, and ensure they stay in touch with emerging technologies.
CEUs are monitored by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).
- LPN (RN) to BSN
- BSN or ADN to MSN
- Continuing education courses including:
- Basic life support
- Advanced cardiac life support
- Critical care registered nurse
- Pediatric advanced life support
- Trauma nurse core course
- Neonatal resuscitation program
Travel nurses must be licensed.
The most basic license is for a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) who will have completed a diploma program. More commonly, travel nurses complete an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing and become registered nurses (RNs).
The National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc, (NCSBN) is the regulatory body for travel nurses who work in the US. The organization develops nurse licensure and certification examinations for nurses, including travel nurses.
The primary test is the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), which is an exam held nationwide and in Canada. It is state-specific, but there is no reason why you shouldn’t apply for a license in more than one state to cover yourself while traveling.
There are also different licenses, depending on your qualification, for example, an NCLEX-PN (which LPNs must pass) and an NCLEX-RN.
There is also a nationally recognized licensure exam which makes it a lot easier for travel nurses.
The NCSBN’s Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) is maintained across most US states, enabling travel nurses to travel across state lines. (currently 25).
All nurses, including travel nurses, must also be CPR-certified.
- NCSBN license
- CPR certification
Complete travel nurse resume sample
Travel nurse jobs are very varied, but we chose this one as an example, to show you how to tackle tailoring your resume for any specific job opportunity. It’s the concept that’s important. You will need to craft the content to meet the needs of your prospective employer.
You will see from the advert that experience in acute care, pediatrics, and travel nursing is required. This is because it is a specialty travel nurse job in pediatrics. However, the nurse who is employed will also deal with adolescent patients.
The position calls for strength and physical stamina. There is also a warning that the job could result in exposure to infectious diseases and potentially harmful chemicals.
Pediatric Travel Nurse
Skilled registered pediatric nurse with a penchant for travel. Previous experience includes critical care and nine months manning the clinic on a cruise ship. Licensed and ready to travel anywhere.
Communicative people’s person | Loves children and young people | Critical care | Critical thinking | Adaptable | Informative | Flexible | Highly organized | Strong, fit, and healthy | Teamwork
American Cruise Lines, GA
Travel Nurse, 2015 – 2016
Worked as the onboard nurse caring for tourists and travelers of all ages. Facilitated care coordination and clinical triaging. Prepared and administered oral, subcutaneous, intramuscular, and intravenous medications.
- Supported the staff captain and other shipboard medical personnel in a wide variety of health-related issues while at sea.
- Prepared updated first-aid instructions for crew members and led several hands-on workshops.
- Instrumental in saving the lives of at least three travelers who had all the symptoms of heart attack.
- Regularly manned the on-board, walk-in clinic.
Pediatric Care Providers, GA
Registered Nurse, 2017 – 2020
Provided nursing care to “fragile” children. Visited patients in their homes and undertook ongoing assessments. Administered medication as prescribed by the patient’s physician. Educated families on proper home health and care strategies.
- Undertook intense communication with patients and their families in an endeavor to improve their health circumstances.
- Planned and ran hundreds of local workshops in Atlanta for families with children in need of nursing care.
- Mentored a student nurse each year I was with the company.
- Although this was not a travel nurse job, I did substantial traveling to visit families.
Trusted Health, GA
Intensive Care Unit – RN, 2012 – 2014
Cared for patients in ICU after invasive surgery, trauma, organ failure, and accidents. Assessed and monitored patients’ progress and monitored respiration and heart functions. Managed medication, anesthesia, and ventilatory support.
- Mostly managed the care of two or three patients at one time.
- Communicated daily with the families of those in intensive care.
- Commended frequently for my willingness to work long hours and the ability to deal with life-and-death situations.
- Became adept at multitasking.
- Active NCLEX-RN Georgia
- NCSBN license
- Valid CPR certification
University of North Georgia
Bachelor of Science in Nursing, 2008 – 2011
- Critical care registered nurse
- Pediatric advanced life support
Travel nurses are special people with significant skills. Your resume gives you the opportunity to show potential employers and recruiters what your skills, abilities, and other attributes are.
Every job has different requirements, so tailor the description about you to show just how appropriate your qualifications, experience, and abilities will be for the position.
- Qualifications, experience, and licensure are vital for travel nurses. Make sure you meet the relevant requirements.
- A good mix of soft and hard skills will place you in the pound seats when you apply for a job as a travel nurse. You need to list the skills you have, but focus on those that are specified either for the job or highlighted in the company’s mission or vision statements.
- It is essential to have a diploma or degree to be able to work as a travel nurse. On top of that, continuing education is a requirement nationwide. There are lots of brilliant courses you can take, make the best of them. Not only will they expand your knowledge, but they’ll look great on your resume too.
Tips from Experts
“Instead of a resume objective, include a professional summary that tells employers what you can do for them. Employers care about what you do for them. They don’t care about what you want to do for them. They want to see evidence… what you’ve done and how you can do it for them with the least training possible.“ – Angelina Gibson, former travel nurse recruiter and creator of Travel Nursing Insider
“Sell yourself on your resume. Highlight the facilities that you worked at, and any skills that you have acquired in those positions. What are some of the more common patient types? How many beds were in the unit? Did you have any charge or leadership responsibilities within those positions? Those are the sorts of things that I use as a recruiter to sell you to an opening.“ – Charity Crawford, senior healthcare recruiter at Axis Medical Staffing
“Tailor your resume to yourself. Talk about anything the job seems to want you to have, to target their desire. They used to have a section called objective. I think it’s a better approach to do a little bit ‘about me’ rather than I want this type of job because obviously, you are applying for it.” – Nurse Liz, family nurse practitioner, North Carolina
Whether you’re an experienced travel nurse or a registered nurse with years of experience, if you are ready to spread your wings right now, make sure your resume will help you do it.
Use strong adjectives to describe your skills and your personal objectives. And focus on you … after all, you are the hero and you want them to know it!