Take your nursing skills on the road
Updated Web sites to aid your search
- See the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. Web site for information about the Nursing Compact, including the list of 22 states currently participating.
- Government jobs are listed at USAJOBS. Click on Job Search, then search by agency, listed alphabetically. Veterans Health Administration has LPN and RN jobs as well as other medical jobs. Most are permanent; some are part-time or temporary. Also contact the VA hospital in an area where you want to be.
- The Healthcare Traveler Web site has links to a number of agencies all over the U.S.
- See local employment agencies and classified ads.
- Summer camps also hire nurses as do clinics in or right outside national parks. See Coolworks.com and Campjobs.com for jobs in national parks and summer camp jobs.
I am a long time retired RN, but I'm still somewhat connected to the medical field through the Escapees CARE (adult day care) program. I do remember how difficult it was to get licenses in the days when I was traveling full-time (70's and early 80's) and moving so much that as I finished the paperwork for one license, we were moving to the next state. The Nursing Compact is a wonderful addition and becoming essential with the ever-increasing shortage of nurses. With the decline in nursing students, I think more states will join the Nursing Compact. The last I heard, Texas had an alliance with 7 other states so it looks like more have already been added. I think you can get all the information on the Nursing Compact by writing to your own home state license bureau (if it is in the alliance) or one of the other states you know are in the Nursing Compact.
My husband and I would only be in Juneau, Alaska, for a couple of months and their license was quite expensive, so I found a medical clinic and applied for a job as a vacation relief for the nurses. Since I was working under a doctor's license, I didn't have to get an Alaska license. (At the time I was licensed in Mass, Washington, and California.) I actually worked for three different doctors over an 8-week period, which was all the time I had left in Alaska.
During another period when we knew we would be in Florida for about 6 months, (had two school-age children traveling with us), I went to work at the Veteran's hospital. As long as I had a current RN, I could work in any VA hospital in any state. I suspect, with the nursing shortage, that may still be in effect. As I remember, they did ask for a six months commitment.
Medical employment agencies
Are you aware of the many medical employment agencies that have sprung up? They assign you to a hospital, usually for 3 months, and take care of all licensing. You have the right to request an area and to refuse any job offer. You are actually working for the agency (not the hospital where you perform the duties) so most agencies provide benefits such as accumulation of vacation days and liability and health insurance, and sometimes living expense. There should be ads in the back of the Nursing Journal. If you cannot find information, I can give you the phone number for one of them. There are a dozen or more to select from. Incidently, this is where you will find the highest salaries, especially for experienced nurses and those trained in a special field.
If you are just looking for a workcamper situation, trading 16 hours work for a free RV site with utilities paid, you may want to look at the Escapees CARE program. Although the number of workcamper sites are limited, one of the most valuable positions is to be "on call" evenings and weekends when the regular staff are off. Check the CARE Web site or you can call CARE direct at (936) 327-4256
Hope I've given you some helpful information. The RV lifestyle is a wonderful way to share the skills we've already learned. Kay Peterson, co-founder of Escapees RV Club.
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