How To Become a Travel RN in Canada

How To Become a Travel RN in Canada
How To Become a Travel RN in Canada

Becoming a Travel Registered Nurse (RN) in Canada is an attractive career path for many due to its flexibility, diverse experiences, and often higher pay rates than traditional nursing roles.

This guide provides a comprehensive look at the steps required to embark on this exciting career, including education, certification, and employment.

What is a travel nurse?

A travel nurse is a nurse who takes on temporary jobs in different places, filling in wherever there’s a staff shortage. These jobs can last from a few weeks to about six months.

Travel nurses work in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare settings that need extra help. This type of nursing is becoming more common because many places, particularly remote ones, need more nurses.

How To Become a Travel Nurse in Canada

High School Courses

The journey to becoming a Travel RN begins in high school. Aspiring nurses should focus on subjects with a strong foundation for further medical studies. Key courses include:

  • Biology: Understanding human anatomy and physiology starts with biology, which provides essential knowledge about the human body.
  • Chemistry: Many medical treatments and diagnostic procedures involve chemical processes, making chemistry a crucial subject.
  • Mathematics: Skills in mathematics are vital for dosing medications and interpreting medical data.
  • English and Communications: Strong communication skills are necessary to interact effectively with patients, families, and other healthcare professionals.

Participation in extracurricular activities like volunteering at local hospitals or health clinics can also be beneficial. These activities offer a glimpse into the healthcare environment and develop interpersonal skills.


University Nursing Programs

Nursing Student in University

After high school, the next step is to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree from an accredited university. This typically involves four years of study covering a range of topics such as:

  • Medical-Surgical Nursing
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychiatry
  • Community Health
  • Gerontology

Clinical placements are crucial to the curriculum, providing hands-on experience in various settings. Prospective Travel RNs should take advantage of clinical rotations in diverse areas to broaden their skills and knowledge.

Certification and Licensing

How To Pass the NCLEX-RN First Time

After completing a BSN, graduates must pass the National Council Licensure Examination NCLEX-RN to become licensed as RNs in Canada. Depending on the province or territory, additional certifications may also be required.

For those aspiring to become Travel RNs, obtaining certifications in areas like Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) can enhance employability and readiness for various assignments.


Specialized Training and Experience

Experience in critical care, emergency departments, or other high-demand areas can benefit those looking to enter travel nursing.

Many agencies require at least one to two years of experience in a specific nursing field before taking on a travel assignment. This experience ensures the nurse is well-prepared and capable of quickly adapting to new environments and teams.


Getting Hired as a Travel RN

Travel RNs
Travel RNs

Travel RNs are typically employed through staffing agencies specializing in placing nurses in short-term positions nationwide and sometimes internationally. These positions can vary but usually last between 8 to 26 weeks. When applying to a staffing agency, nurses should:

  • Research thoroughly: Look for agencies with good reputations and understand their policies and benefits.
  • Prepare for variability: Be flexible with locations and types of assignments to increase opportunities.
  • Understand the contract: Pay attention to details on salary, accommodation, and travel expenses.


Earnings: RN vs. Travel RN

Nurse Anesthetist
Nurse Anesthetist

One of the most appealing aspects of becoming a Travel RN is the potential for higher earnings. While salaries vary widely based on location, specialty, and agency, Travel RNs typically earn more due to the urgent need for their services and the inclusion of housing stipends and travel reimbursements in their compensation packages.

  • Regular RNs: A typical RN in Canada might earn an average salary ranging from CAD 60,000 to CAD 90,000 annually, depending on the region and years of experience.
  • Travel RNs: Travel RNs often earn higher wages, sometimes exceeding CAD 100,000 annually when including all benefits and allowances.

Becoming a Travel RN in Canada requires dedication to education and training. Still, it offers a rewarding career filled with diverse experiences and opportunities to help people nationwide.

With the right preparation and mindset, nurses can enjoy a dynamic and fulfilling career as Travel RNs.


What does it take to be a travel nurse?

A travel nurse should enjoy independence, working in new places, and meeting different people. This job suits someone adaptable and comfortable working with people from various educational and professional backgrounds.

Travel nursing could be a great fit if you like stepping out of your comfort zone and embarking on adventures. It also allows you to have a flexible schedule, making it perfect for those who value their free time.

How to become a travel nurse in Canada

To qualify for the job of travel nursing in Canada, you must:

  • Be a Registered Nurse (RN). You must provide proof of registration from a provincial College of Nurses.
  • Have at least two years of experience in critical care. More experience can be beneficial.
  • Show professional curiosity and a willingness to learn.
  • Be proficient in English and French, especially if you want to work in Quebec.


Picking The Right agency for you

Choosing the right travel nursing agency can be challenging. It’s crucial to pick one that aligns with your needs and has a solid track record. Here are some factors to consider when selecting an agency:

How long has the agency been operating?

  • What is their reputation like? Are they well-known and positively reviewed by others?
  • Do they specialize in certain areas, or have they received any awards for excellence? Travel nursing is competitive, so these details matter.
  • Who handles their recruiting? It’s best if the recruiters have experience with travel nursing assignments overseas and in Canada.