What is a Travel Nurse?

Nurse looking over their travel plans

Working as a travel nurse is a great way to further your skills and knowledge, while experiencing new places and meeting new people. So what exactly is a travel nurse and what does your day-to-day job look like?

As the name implies, a travel nurse is someone employed to travel to do nursing work in a specific location for a limited period of time, typically three to six months. The cost of travel and accommodation are sometimes included in the role which is a great perk, especially when working in high rent areas. You’ll also get to meet new and exciting people in different hospitals and even across multiple countries.


Getting to choose where you work in travel nursing means you get to experience unique and exciting destinations. In Australia some states and territories run specific programs to give Registered Nurses the opportunity to live and work in a variety of rural communities.

For example, Western Australia’s ‘TRAVEL’ program allows for participating travel nurses to work in three different locations over a 12 month period. To apply for a state or territory travel nurse program, contact the relevant health department within that state.

Typically travel nurses are required to be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. ED experience and / or triage skills are looked on favourably. If you undertook your initial nurse training in the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, Republic of South Africa, Singapore, Hong Kong or the Netherlands you may be eligible for direct entry on to the Australian Nursing Board register.

Is Travel Nursing Right For You?

Being a travel nurse suits individuals who are adventurous, confident and open to new environments. You should also be flexible and adaptable; a willingness to work outside your comfort zone and try a variety of practice contexts is encouraged. Being friendly and able to work collaboratively in a team will also result in a positive experience.

If you are aged 18 to 30 and from a country with which Australia has a reciprocal agreement (e.g. UK), a working holiday visa (417) is a great way to see Australia whilst utilising your skills as a nurse. The visa is valid for 12 months and you can work for up to six months with each individual employer. Visa applications for most countries can often take some time to process so research and apply well ahead of the time you intend to undertake travel nursing.

Travel nurses are in demand in many countries. If you are interested in working as a travel nurse, find out if there is a position that’s right for you on our nursing job board.