It has to be said that this industry has gone somewhat unnoticed by most people. The reason is that it’s a niche market, one you only really learn about once you enter the medical or health care field. Suffice is to say that when you look at the industry in general, there’s plenty of potential and room for growth.
There are so many areas where LPNs (Licensed Practical Nurses) are required and can be of use, whether it’s a medical center specializing in sports injuries or a care facility on a cruise ship, once you delve further into the industry, the market really opens up. This market does wonders for those looking for more than just the nursing role, but feel the desire to do a bit of traveling too.
Incidentally, the nursing shortage that many places are struggling with could be as a result of many LPNs queuing themselves up about the traveling jobs market, thus many are searching for employment abroad; strangely though, this has resulted in many nurses abroad coming to work here, so in theory things should balance out. Nevertheless the traveling LPN does boast quite an attractive proposition for the resident LPN as it offers positions beyond that of just nursing care facilities and hospitals.
How Does One Secure a LPN Travel Job?
Needless to say that first and foremost one needs to be qualified as a licensed practical nurse before contemplating the traveling option, unless the plan is to study abroad and then travel as well, in which case it would be prudent to check the study programs and equivalencies of different countries to be aware of what is recognized as the legitimate practicing standards and qualifications. Once you’ve received your nursing license and can work abroad, then it is imperative that you register with a Nursing travel agency. They find you work positions and possible options for placement based on the availability within their database, so it would be advisable to register with several different agencies to broaden the net, or pool as it were and increase your chances of employment. It is said that this is an expanding market so opportunities should increase in the next few years.
The LPN vs the Traveling LPN
In some cases, certain country’s parameters for LPN qualifications differ meaning that in certain instances the LPN scope of practice may change from country to country, just as some of it differs from state to state. Of course the core qualifications are all pretty much the same so the duties should not differ by much with the prime role being that of a care giver to the sick or frail. So, one can expect to perform the same role abroad as you would perform in your local hospital or nursing care facility. Clinically speaking, there should be no difference between any LPN anywhere in the world.
What Are the Prime Benefits to Being a Traveling LPN?
- To get the obvious out of the way; the traveling LPN would no doubt get to experience working in different countries and experience different cultures, more often than not learning another language or two in the process. Theoretically (based on the availability of posts) you could travel the world while working as an LPN.
- A by-product of this is that because of the variety of arenas available to the LPN, you’ll be gaining valuable experience working in so many different environs – yes the role, duties and responsibilities will be the same by and large, but your palette of experience will be so much broader.
- Of course chief amongst these is perhaps the very likely possibility that, as with many of these jobs, your living arrangements will be paid for by the employing company, and in some cases you may even receive allowances for travel and food expenses. With this you’d be able to use some of your earnings to travel and shop abroad as well, not to mention compile a decent bit of savings.
- In so many instances this is the primary allure of LPN traveling jobs, as companies lure nurses with the attractive promise of “free living” at the expense of the company while working in an exotic location. With the USA’s struggling health care sector, many LPN’s may be interested in experiencing the health care sector of France or Singapore for instance – an exercise in broadening your horizons and gaining more than just work experience.
- Added benefits of the traveling nursing jobs include health and life insurance as travel agencies and company’s look to make their package the most appealing in what is now a rather competitive market.
- These jobs are no doubt contractual so you’ll always know of the precise duration of your stay, thus you’ll be able to plan your travels out to line up one after the other. Based upon what posts are available and where they are, you’ll be able to plan future jobs in advance before your current assignment comes to an end.
- Finally, and definitely not the least of which, is the pay. It’s well known that traveling LPN’s earn more than your average resident base level LPN in the local hospital.
Not Getting Tied Down
With many students looking to enter the field of medicine in some capacity or another, but with seemingly conflicting desires clouding their decisions, the LPN travel job presents a welcome departure. It perhaps allows them to pursue their need to travel while further doing ‘research’ and gaining much needed experience in the field they wish to make their career. Since the licensed practical nursing program is the entry level for nurses, it provides the perfect “in” for anyone looking to pursue a career in medicine, and only costs them a full time course of study which lasts one year. Of course those who are looking to become doctors, the most recognized method of traveling as one is Doctors Without Borders – which is a long way off for those who’ve been bitten by the travel bug. Needless to say that once you go through all the channels to become a doctor, one might find that traveling does not fall high on the priority list as you tend to get tied down by your duties and earning money.
The Negatives involved in the LPN Travel Job Market
Here are a few points that may serve as drawbacks for aspiring traveling LPN’s.
- Your life will constantly be on the move – which means having to deal with customs and airports on a regular basis.
- Living outside your comfort zone (sure that’s sometimes the point, but often being in unfamiliar territory, not knowing anyone, can get a bit much for a particular type of person).
- The language barrier (yes, more often than not you get to choose where you want to work, but sometimes the added challenge can present many of its own problems to add to the work related ones).
- If your negotiating skills are not up to scratch and there were a few oversights in your contract – your experience can quickly turn sour, depending on the arrangements and the details.
From this it’s easy to see that for the well prepared person with an open outlook, the pros will always outweigh the cons when it comes to the LPN traveling job market – the perfect remedy for the restless LPN.
Up until now we’ve primarily dealt with international traveling nursing jobs, but for those with slightly smaller horizons, there are plenty of placement companies who work within borders. A number of companies constantly update their database for posts within the US for instance – such as maximnurses.com, nursetown.com, tmaxnursing.com and lpntravel.com which have state by state assignments. In addition to their contract work they also invariably provide permanent placings for those who are a tad more flexible when it come to their home situation. In this case a traveling LPN who is not tied down to a particular state, may find a certain job situation to his or her liking and decide to relocate; these companies then, are experienced and well equipped to make that transition happen.
Many such placement firms are much attuned to the desires of the traveling nurse so far as housing needs, location and even desired salary are concerned. Many companies offer deals which include fully furnished accommodation (house or apartment) with traveling expenses, because who would accept a deal otherwise – having to start from scratch in a foreign country or state and not knowing a soul.
Of course the more experienced you are, the better your options will be.
Registered Nurses are also very much within their focus as they employ search agents to scan for demand, thus if a nurse of a particular skill set is required, they can then recommend nurses based upon the resumes they have in their registry. Needless to say, a niche and very specialized field requiring someone with the appropriate qualification will mean the more in-demand that nurse will be; so if two posts are available, one could find yourself in an enviable position so far as negotiating is concerned.
The Issue of Salaries
Travel LPN jobs inevitably pay more than the average LPN job; whether this is because your expenses are paid for by your employing company or just because of an increased pay check. The median salary for a base level LPN ranges about the $40 000 mark, but of course you’ll be deducting things like rent, the bills, food and travel (commuting to and from work) expenses, and then whatever remains is yours to splurge.
Of course salaries are a variable thing when you consider location (Note: areas in the north tend to pay more than their counterparts in the south). The needs and capabilities of the hospital or clinic and the discretion of the employing company in general; however, there are quite a few benefits that one may find, such as “tax advantage” – since you may be paying tax on a home already, you may be granted exemption from paying for extra tax for your current accommodation.
Over and above all of that, when all is sorted, you may find that the median salary of a traveling LPN is roughly forty percent more than the resident LPN. According to one website, the median hourly wage for an LPN was at $20 while for a traveling LPN, it came to $28 an hour.
What More to Consider?
Although the traveling nursing jobs are very appealing, there are a number of elements that are key to making your experience the best that it can be. Things such as traveling and licensing costs – there are sure to be unforeseen costs involved along the way – many of which are reimbursed by your employer per the contract that you signed with them – which in itself will be a crucial test of your negotiating skills. In essence then, you are the one who will best determine the nature of your arrangements; who you decide to sign with (travel nursing agency), where you’ll be located and what your expenses/living arrangements and salary will be.
Your travel LPN dream job may be shattered if you are not fully clued up and prepared for it because much of your well-being is in your hands. Seeing the world and getting ahead financially may be the ultimate goal, but it will only be realized if you know how to manage your finances, know who to sign with and talk to, and know what to ask (falling well within your negotiating skills). So, if your ambition is to become a traveling LPN, seek advice and do the proper research – putting in this work early can result in a major payoff down the line. Consult your nearest LPN travel agency for further details to learn of the requirements and paperwork needed to set the ball in motion.