Career Spotlight: Travel Nurse Practitioner
As a young, working doctor of nursing practice, what better way to find your niche than traveling to different clinical settings and working with different patient populations around the state, the country and even the globe — collecting immeasurable experience as you go.
This is the role of travel nurse practitioners, otherwise known as Locum Tenens — a Latin term meaning “a holding place.”
As a locum tenens you will have the opportunity to work in various clinical settings for weeks or months at a time, most often filling in for other nurse practitioners who are on leave or long vacations, or if the facility needs to bring on additional staffing during training periods.
This position is built for those who enjoy traveling and are looking for more variety of experience over permanency and stability.
Some of the benefits that a locum tenens sees include:
- Gaining a wide array of experience and learning from a variety of techniques, procedures, and systems used across different health care settings.
- Expanding your professional network by meeting and connecting with health care professionals across the country.
- Getting a well-rounded view of what you do and do not appreciate in a work environment, as well as which patient populations you most enjoy serving.
- Traveling around the country and discovering where you may want to plant your roots, all without falling behind in your professional career.
Though the thought of traveling can be exciting, those considering a locum tenens position must also consider that constantly relocating can be tedious, and it can be a challenge to establish roots and to get acclimated in each new work setting, especially those that are shorter term.
In an article by Scrubs Magazine, one primary care nurse practitioner, Cindy Leiffer, shares her experience as a locum tenens.
In her case, Leiffer had been working as a nurse practitioner for years before becoming a locum tenens. Her reasoning behind this decision was that after her recent surgery, she wanted to have a less intensive schedule.
In the article Leiffer expresses many benefits she experienced while working as a locum tenens. The greatest benefit she saw, however, was the ability to focus less on the business/administrative side of things and more on the clinical aspect of patient care.
“Those of us in the locum tenens field are able to give patients our undivided attention and care,” said Leiffer. “We still have to do the paper and computer work associated with direct patient care, but we don’t have the administrative duties or worries about the business aspects of a practice.”
Those interested in this field will have to work through staffing agencies or locum tenens agencies, all of which vary in salary and benefits offered — some including covered travel and housing expenses. If you plan to work in a different state, your locum tenens agency should also advise you in how to obtain certain licensure and credentials if necessary.
Alvernia doctor of nursing practice students will take courses focused on various patient populations within the primary care sector including adult-geriatric patients and family individuals across the lifespan, with experience women’s health, pediatrics, and adolescent care. As an Alvernia DNP student interested in pursuing a career in travel nursing, you will be well prepared to address any primary care patient population or clinical setting you are placed in.