Advance Your Career with Behavioral Health Nurse Travel Jobs

Advance Your Career with Behavioral Health Nurse Travel Jobs

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Are you a behavioral health nurse seeking to broaden your professional horizon? Have you considered the unique opportunities that come with travel nursing? Not only does travel nursing enhances career progression, it offers a chance for personal growth and is typically attached with competitive compensation plans. In this article, we will elaborate on the roles of a behavioral health nurse, unique benefits tied with such traveling jobs, and essential steps to launch your career in this unique and exciting field.

Understanding The Role of a Behavioral Health Nurse

Behavioral health nurses work with patients struggling with mental health issues, substance abuse problems, and neurological disorders. Their role encompasses providing comprehensive physical and mental health care services to promote wellbeing and facilitate recovery.

The day-to-day work of a behavioral health nurse involves assessing patients, developing individualized treatment plans, administering medications, monitoring patient progress, educating patients and families, connecting patients with resources, and providing therapy.

Behavioral health nurses need a strong foundation in behavioral health theories, psychiatric conditions, therapeutic communication techniques, crisis intervention, psychopharmacology, and safety/security protocols. They must be able to build rapport with patients while maintaining professional boundaries.


Core Responsibilities of a Behavioral Health Nurse

The core responsibilities of a behavioral health nurse include:

  • Conducting mental health evaluations and physical health assessments
  • Reviewing patient medical histories and analyzing test results
  • Diagnosing psychiatric disorders such as depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety, ADHD, etc.
  • Developing and updating individualized treatment plans
  • Administering medications, monitoring side effects, and managing medication changes
  • Providing therapy, counseling, education, and crisis intervention
  • Documenting all care and tracking patient outcomes
  • Coordinating care with psychiatrists, therapists, social workers, and other providers
  • Ensuring patient safety through risk assessments and close monitoring
  • Promoting wellness through connection, empathy, and a strengths-based approach

Essential Skills for Behavioral Health Nurses

Behavioral health nurses need a specialized skillset to excel in this role, including:

  • Active listening and empathy
  • Strong communication and interpersonal abilities
  • Patience, compassion, and cultural sensitivity
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Conflict resolution and de-escalation techniques
  • Extensive knowledge of psychotropic medications
  • Familiarity with therapeutic modalities like CBT, DBT, etc.
  • Physical assessment skills and ability to identify medical issues
  • Documentation and organizational skills
  • Teamwork, collaboration, and coordination abilities

Employment Settings for Behavioral Health Nurses

Behavioral health nurses can work in various settings, including:

  • Inpatient psychiatric facilities
  • Outpatient mental health clinics
  • Residential treatment centers
  • Drug and alcohol rehab programs
  • Community health centers
  • Correctional facilities
  • Private psychiatric practices
  • Schools and universities
  • Military and VA health centers
  • Emergency rooms and hospitals
  • Home health care
  • Telehealth

The Unique Benefits of Behavioral Health Nurse Travel Jobs

Enhancing Professional Skill Sets

Taking on travel assignments allows behavioral health nurses to gain experience across diverse settings and populations. Working at multiple renowned treatment centers enables nurses to be exposed to cutting-edge modalities and acquire specialized skills.

The medical, legal, documentation, and facility protocols vary between organizations. Being adaptable and quickly learning new EHR platforms, paperwork requirements, pharmaceutical policies, and workflows prepares nurses for dynamic roles.

Opportunity for Personal Growth and Exploration

Travel nursing provides the flexibility to choose assignments in desirable locations across the country. Nurses can live in vibrant metropolitan cities, quaint small towns, outdoor adventure hubs, tropical beach locales, or other enticing destinations.

Exploring new places, experiencing different regional cultures, and having the freedom to easily relocate opens personal growth opportunities. Working as a travel nurse allows seasoned nurses to rediscover their passion for the profession.

Competitive Compensation and Perks

Travel behavioral health nurse jobs offer lucrative compensation packages and excellent benefits. The contracts come with bonuses, stipends, paid private housing, travel reimbursements, health/dental insurance, retirement plans, referral bonuses, and more.

The typically 13-week contracts are ideal for those who like to work hard for a period and then take extended time off. Nurses can earn significantly more over the course of a year compared to a permanent staff job.

Steps to Kickstart Your Career as a Traveling Behavioral Health Nurse

Starting a career as a traveling psychiatric nurse can be an exciting and rewarding path, allowing you to gain valuable experience while seeing new places and helping patients in need. Here are some key steps to kickstart your career in this growing field:

First, ensure you have the proper educational background and licensing for behavioral health nursing. Psychiatric nurses typically need a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN) along with a valid RN license. Many also pursue a Master's degree or post-graduate certification in psychiatric nursing. Having these credentials will make you qualified for most travel nurse opportunities.

Next, gain relevant psychiatric and mental health nursing experience. Employers often want at least 1 year of experience working with psychiatric populations. Seek roles in inpatient psych units, mental health clinics, crisis stabilization centers, or other settings to build your skills and resume.

As you get experience, join relevant professional associations like the American Psychiatric Nurses Association. This will help you network, stay updated on trends and best practices, and showcase your commitment to the field.

Once you have the proper education and experience, research and connect with trusted travel nurse agencies that staff behavioral and psychiatric positions. We can help match you to the right openings nationwide. Get started in On Demand, our powerful web app.

Finally, make sure to get any specialty certifications needed for your desired travel nurse roles. Certifications in psychiatric crisis intervention, mental health first aid, and psychopharmacology may give you a competitive edge.

Taking these proactive steps will properly prepare you for an exciting career as a travel nurse helping psychiatric and behavioral health patients across the country.

Required Educational Background and Licensing

To work as a travel nurse in any specialty, including behavioral health, you must have a valid and unencumbered RN license. This requires completing a BSN or Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN) and passing the NCLEX-RN exam.

Many employers strongly prefer or require a BSN, as this 4-year degree provides enhanced clinical knowledge and leadership skills. Accelerated BSN programs are available for those who hold a Bachelor's in another field.

Additionally, a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in psychiatric mental health nursing can open up more advanced practice and teaching opportunities. Other relevant Master's options include nursing education, healthcare leadership, or public health.

Beyond your underlying RN license, most states require travel nurses to obtain a license in each state they plan to work. Multi-state licenses allow you to practice in 2 or more states. Associations like Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) offer license reciprocity across member states.

Streamlining and understanding state licensing requirements from the start will make you much more employable as a travel nurse. Reputable agencies can help guide you through the process as well.

Gaining Relevant Work Experience

While 1-2 years of medical-surgical bedside nursing experience is extremely helpful for any travel nurse role, employers hiring for psychiatric and behavioral health positions also look for experience specifically working with psychiatric populations.

Seeking RN roles in inpatient psychiatric hospitals, mental health clinics, crisis stabilization units, drug and alcohol rehab centers, and community mental health outreach programs can provide this specialized experience.

Working as a psychiatric technician or mental health worker prior to becoming an RN also demonstrates commitment and passion for the field. Even volunteer work at relevant nonprofits can strengthen your resume.

Obtaining specialty certifications, such as in psychiatric crisis intervention or mental health first aid, can further showcase your capabilities and training to prospective travel nurse employers.

Joining industry groups like the American Psychiatric Nurses Association also exhibits dedication. Participating in their continuing education, training programs, and conferences will help you stay sharp and network with peers.

With strong psychiatric nursing experience on your resume, travel nurse recruiters will be eager to discuss open behavioral and mental health positions across the country.

Finding Trusted Behavioral Health Nurse Travel Job Agencies

Once ready to seek travel nursing opportunities, reputable staffing agencies are invaluable partners. Look for those that specialize in placing behavioral and psychiatric nurses in temporary but well-compensating travel contracts nationwide.

We maintain large networks of healthcare employer contacts and can match your skills and preferences to the right openings. Find your dream behavioral health nurse travel job in On Demand, our powerful web app.

Compare agencies in terms of pay rates, benefits, license/credential support, housing assistance, flexibility, minimum requirements, and overall nurse satisfaction. Reach out to recruiters to ask questions and discuss ideal regions, facilities, and roles.

Leverage online travel nurse job boards and communities as well. BluePipes, Gypsy Nurse, and Travel Nursing Central connect nurses to agencies and employer opportunities.

With reputable agencies on your side, you can embark on this exciting career helping behavioral and psychiatric patients by traveling to where you are most needed.


Land your dream job faster when you travel with us. Get started with top local and national travel nurse jobs in On Demand.

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Land your dream job faster when you travel with us. Get started with top local and national travel nurse jobs in On Demand.

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Land your dream job faster when you travel with us. Get started with top local and national travel nurse jobs in On Demand.


Land your dream job faster when you travel with us. Get started with top local and national travel nurse jobs in On Demand.

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