Travel Nursing Abroad: How to Become an International Travel Nurse

Are you looking for a career with great pay, adventure, and boundless opportunities for nurses who love to travel, discover new places, and want to broaden their skill set?

Travel nursing is the best answer to shake up a mundane work routine. While typical travel nurse assignments are available domestically, some travelers can find contracts for international positions if they desire a deeper sense of adventure. 

Travel nursing overseas is not usually the money-making adventure it would be inside American borders. However, many travelers want to go beyond the country for adventure and excitement, even if it means less money. Some international travel nurse destinations with the highest need for healthcare professionals include Australia, New Zealand, China, and the Middle East. Areas prone to high rates of disease and natural disasters may also demand high volumes of rapid-response travel nurses who can provide critical care in the aftermath of these events.

Because of the severe global nursing shortage, there isn’t a better time to become an international nurse and help others around the globe. Travel nursing jobs within the U.S. are simple to arrange, but there are a few added measures for nurses interested in traveling internationally. 

International Nursing Skills and Responsibilities

International travel nursing entails living in another country and working in direct patient care. International travel nurses collaborate with other medical professionals in various healthcare settings, treating patients and promoting good healthcare. The duration of international travel nursing assignments can range from a few months to a year in destinations like Europe and Australia or two years or more in the Middle East and other destinations. It’s imperative international travelers at least have the following skills:

  • Cultural competence
  • Working knowledge of the country’s language
  • Compassion and empathy
  • Strong communication and assessment skills
  • Adaptability
  • Ability to overcome challenges

International travel nurses provide services to patient populations from infancy through old age. International travelers could work in settings from well-equipped modern hospital facilities to rudimentary clinics in underserved, remote communities, so their responsibilities depend on the needs of the patients in these environments. Some include:

  • Educating patient populations on specific health conditions and overall wellness
  • Caring for a diverse patient population, including individuals living in rural areas, underprivileged communities, areas affected by complicated chronic illnesses, and post-disaster zones
  • Assisting patients in recovery with eating, bathing, and other self-care tasks
  • Collaborating with other medical staff to examine, diagnose, and design treatment plans for patients
  • Assessing the physical and psychosocial needs of patients and their families while working to meet them
  • Learning different patient care systems and forms of patient documentation

How To Become An International Travel Nurse

Before becoming an international travel nurse, you should ensure that you’re confident in new experiences, towns, people, and organizations. You should also thrive on constantly being challenged and have an interest in cultures and ways of life different from your own.

To work internationally, you must have an ADN or BSN and an active, unrestricted RN license after passing the NCLEX exam. Although not all overseas travel nurse assignments require a BSN, healthcare facilities are increasingly making them a prerequisite. Next, you must choose a travel nurse specialty to help determine your opportunities as an international travel nurse and obtain the necessary clinical experience.

Ensure you have a passport, visa, work permit, and any necessary sponsorship or additional credentials that your travel country requires. Each country will also have its own list of other documentation you will need to present, such as your birth certificate, immunization records, professional references, criminal background checks, and transcripts to verify your educational qualifications.

The simplest way to start international travel nursing is to sign up with a travel nurse agency like the National Association of Travel Healthcare Organizations that works with organizations worldwide. If you’re a beginner, consider testing the waters as a travel nurse within the U.S. before heading overseas.

5 International Travel Nursing Tips

1. Travel With A Partner

A fellow nurse or your significant other that can be there for you is an irreplaceable privilege. Consider bringing someone along if you can.

2. Arrive Before Your Assignment

While travel nursing assignments in the U.S. last between eight and 26 weeks, international nursing jobs are often longer, so give yourself time to prepare and get settled.

3. Learn The Language

You must communicate as well as possible to help patients in their treatment process. At least knowing the basics will help you greatly while working as an international nurse.

4. Pack Lightly

This might be one of the hardest things to do, but it is needed. Try to pack less so you can travel comfortably and without much stress.

5. Request A Tour of the Medical Facility

Getting to know the medical facility where you’re going to work is vital and will help you immensely.

International travel nursing jobs can offer tremendous personal, professional, and financial rewards, but the process requires research and planning to ensure it’s the appropriate next step for your nursing career.

In the meantime, Nurse First has plenty of domestic travel nurse assignments available to satisfy your travel bug while you think about going overseas! Check our out job board for available travel nurse jobs in the top travel nurse locations!

learn more