What Is a Traveling LPN?

Licensed practical nurses are professionally trained nurses that care for injured or ill patients from around the globe. If you have an adventurous spirit and like meeting new people, you might consider a career as a traveling LPN. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

Licensed practical nurses (LPN) and licensed vocational nurses (LVN) are professionally trained and state-licensed medical professionals who provide direct patient care to people who are injured, ill, or disabled. Those that are traveling nurses also have a special license depending on their tasks and where they work. For example, traveling nurses may work in Florida during the seasonal boom in the winter months but travel to other states during the summer months.

As an LPN, you'll work under the direction of a doctor or registered nurse in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes. LPN duties vary by state, but can include administering special medications, beginning intravenous solutions, and caring for ventilator-dependent individuals.

Important Facts About Traveling LPNs

Median Salary (2014) $42,490 (for all licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses)
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 16% growth
Key Skills Attention to detail, social nuance, clear communication, patience, empathy, organization, physical stamina
Similar Occupations Nursing assistants, orderlies, occupational therapy assistants and aides, physical therapists assistants and aides, registered nurses, surgical technologists

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Licensure

The first step in becoming a traveling LPN is to obtain state licensure. If you're licensed in a single state, you can travel to any facility and perform nursing services anywhere throughout that state. If you provide interstate services, you could need to obtain licensure from each state that you work. However, if you work exclusively for a single organization, such as the Veterans Health Administration, you might be able to work in any state under a single license. If you offer specialized nursing care, some states could require additional licensing based on the type of tasks you perform.

Contracts

As a traveling LPN, you'd work through a contracting agency and go anywhere across the country that you're needed. Contracts are arranged through various agencies. Contractor pay rates are typically much higher for traveling work than for non-traveling jobs, and bonuses are often included.

Your traveling LPN contract is negotiated by your employer agency and the facility where you're sent to work. These contracts are usually short term and temporary. As a traveling LPN, typically called a traveler, you'll always be employed by your contracting agency and not the facility where you work. Any bonuses or benefits assigned will be between you and the agency.

Your contract will include a specified number of hours per week, usually 36-48 hours, for an agreed-upon time period and hourly wage. Contracting agencies often pay for food, housing, transportation, and state licensure expenses. Some agencies offer health insurance and retirement plans. Many uncompensated expenses are tax deductible at the end of the year.

Advantages

As a traveling LPN, you'll have the flexibility to decide which assignments you'll accept. You could have opportunities to travel to new places and gain experience in a variety of settings. Agencies might also pay for you to obtain specialized nursing skills or train you for a particular position within the company. This could expand your practice to allow you to take on new assignments.

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