nurse practioner consulting with an elderly patient
Travel Tips October 17, 2020

Benefits of Nurse Practitioner Travel Jobs

A variety of opportunities exist for nurse practitioners wanting to travel, see the country, and practice in a variety of settings—all while staying free of administrative hassles.

Locum tenens work offers travelers the “benefits of flexibility and different patient populations and control of their schedules,” said Andrew Wilner, MD, FAAN, FACP, associate professor of neurology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, author of The Locum Life, which will soon release as an audiobook.

Benefits of nurse practitioner travel jobs 

Traveling nurse practitioners can earn excellent salaries, and have the opportunity to choose where and when they want to work, in part-time or full-time temporary assignments across the country. Their salary rates and other benefits are guaranteed by contract.

Here are some additional benefits for NPs working locum travel jobs:

  • Locum jobs give NPs the opportunity to diagnose and treat patients without worries about the hospital or clinic politics or managing other personnel;
  • Nurse practitioner travel jobs offer adventure, including the opportunity to see the country and explore—and their housing and travel expenses are covered;
  • Locum NPs can control their own schedules, perhaps taking the summer off or spending a couple of weeks relaxing on the beach or in the mountains en route to the next assignment. Such flexibility supports work-life balance and can even help avoid burnout;
  • NPs can gain valuable experience in a variety of settings and see how different organizations operate. They learn new ways of doing things, train on new equipment and gain new mentors.
  • Travel jobs for NPs offer the opportunity to take advantage of a change in climate, such as Arizona’s or Florida’s warm winters, the Northeast’s cool and colorful autumns, or states that offer a reprieve from the summer’s heat;
  • Locum tenens offers a chance to try out new locations without a long-term commitment. If a travel job or city is not your favorite, travelers know that it’s just temporary and will soon be over. But sometimes, a nurse practitioner will love a location and setting so much that he or she accepts a permanent job at the hospital or clinic.
  • Travel NP jobs offer opportunities to care for patients with different conditions, ranging from water sports injuries in Hawaii to hypothermia in Alaska. This variety can increase the NP’s experience, making him or her even more valuable for future jobs.
  • Working locum tenens can provide a career safety net, used as a bridge between permanent jobs or when the unexpected happens—such as the COVID-19 pandemic that ended up furloughing some clinicians.

Traveling NPs also enjoy making new friends from coast to coast, wherever they practice on a locums assignment.

Ins and outs of nurse practitioner travel jobs

Experts recommend starting with a reputable locum tenens agency and experienced recruiter. An agency will normally provide free housing, reimbursements for travel expenses, and professional liability insurance, among other benefits.

Most locum tenens positions last 13 weeks, but longer or shorter assignments are often available. Some nurse practitioner travel jobs involve part-time opportunities at a hospital or clinic near where the NP normally practices, allowing the clinician to work extra shifts on their days off.

Traveling clinicians may request an assignment to be near family or attend a special event. For instance, an NP might accept an assignment in a city where an adult child is getting married, where a new grandchild is about to be born, or to help take care of an aging parent.

Travel NPs must hold an RN license and ARNP license in any state where they treat patients. In some places, they also need a prescribing license, and the Drug Enforcement Administration certificate must show the state where they are working. STAFF CARE will help with the licensing details.

Before starting to see patients, the hospital or clinic will typically offer a travel NP a short orientation. As the hospital or clinic might be operating short-staffed, the members are generally glad to see the traveling clinician arrive, but may not have a lot of time to spend giving directions. Thus, travelers should have sufficient experience and confidence to hit the ground running.

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