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Travel nursing skills: The top 6 requirements

Six skills to help you become a travel nurse

What is a travel nurse?

1. Flexibility

When you work as a traveling nurse, you won't be in one place for long. Most registered nurses who travel for work spend an average of three months at a health care facility before moving on to the next location. Because you might not be able to anticipate your next assignment very far in advance, you'll need to be flexible. This skill will also come in handy as you get to know the policies, procedures, and staff at each facility.

Becoming more flexible doesn't have to be difficult. Here are some ideas to get started:

Diversify your skill set, and list each technical skill or area of expertise on your resume.
Welcome alternative ideas, and be open to new ways of doing things.

2. Adaptability

As a highly skilled nurse practitioner who travels around the country from assignment to assignment, you'll also need to be adaptable. That means you must be open to change, ready for new experiences, and eager to grow, no matter where you are.

Need to take your adaptability to the next level? Try these methods:

Welcome different perspectives, and use them to your advantage as you consider the bigger picture.
Make experimentation a part of your daily life.
Always be on the lookout for ways to grow, learn, and expand your horizons.

3. Language Skills

Many traveling nurses receive assignments that take them to parts of the country that have serious health care provider shortages. In many cases, you'll treat patients whose first language isn't English. Being multilingual or even having good language skills will help you communicate and build relationships with your patients.

Not sure where to start? Research the areas where you'll be working, and find out the most commonly spoken languages. Take a beginner-level class or two to get the basics down, and find a conversation partner to practice more. Be sure to list your language skills and levels on your resume.

4. Critical Thinking Skills

One of the most important skills for any traveling nurse practitioner job is critical thinking. After all, you'll need to analyze situations, solve problems, and make decisions quickly throughout the day. If you're working at an understaffed facility, you might also need to think outside the box to provide the best care possible for your patients.

Feel like your critical thinking skills could use some help? Here are a few ways to challenge yourself:

Understand the purpose behind each choice you make.
Try thinking about a problem from a completely different point of view.
Consider all possible consequences of your decision.

5. Emotional Intelligence

When you travel regularly for work, you'll have to pack up your life and move every few months. While many registered nurses relish this opportunity, it's necessary to have a high level of emotional intelligence to make this professional scenario work for you.

Not sure where you rank in terms of emotional intelligence? Make sure you feel comfortable in these areas:

Self Confidence: Understand and appreciate your own self-worth.
Self Awareness: Recognize your emotions, and know how they affect you.
Development: Be proactive when it comes to helping and mentoring colleagues.
Responsibility: Take credit for your actions, whether they're positive or negative.

6. Teamwork

As you make your way from facility to facility, you'll work with new colleagues frequently. You'll need to have a strong sense of teamwork no matter where you work. This travel nursing skill will help you collaborate with other staff members and demonstrate your commitment to getting the job done.

Need to boost your teamwork skills? Try these ideas, and mention a few successful examples on your resume:

Practice communicating openly with your colleagues.
Foster relationships with your co-workers, and get to know them as individuals.
Participate in making informed decisions as a group.
Don't shy away from taking your turn as the team leader.

Ready to land your dream job as a traveling nurse? Make sure you have the necessary skills, and start exploring opportunities in this dynamic field.

Thinking of becoming a nurse? Use this new guide: Discover your road to a career in nursing

Additional information for registered nurses:

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