6 Top Qualities And Skills That Make The Best Traveling Nurses

Health Carousel Travel Nursing
September 5, 2022
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Registered nurses are known for possessing qualities and skills that enable them to work in healthcare successfully with compassion and expertise. A successful travel nurse must have additional attributes to allow them to travel from place to place every few months and work successfully. The top 6 qualities and travel nurse skills one must possess to be successful include adaptability, flexibility, language skills, emotional intelligence, critical thinking, and love of travel. If you are interested in being a travel nurse, we can get you submitted quickly to the top local and national travel nurse jobs when you travel with us. Get started today in On Demand.


All registered nurses must be adaptable, but travel nurses must possess a little extra adaptability. Travel nurses must adapt to a new city or town, healthcare facility, staff, new policies, and contract every few months. Travel nurses need to be able to change their behavior to adjust to different sizes of healthcare facilities, charting systems, and staff dynamics. They must be aware of their preconceptions and be open to new ideas and practices with each new assignment.


Travel nurses must be flexible. Flexibility means giving more or less in similar situations without changing the overall approach. Travel nurses must be able to change the way they work to fit the employer’s needs best. This means you are versatile, resilient, and responsive to challenges. Ways to be flexible include being ready to jump in when needed and offering to help colleagues. Travel nurses often have different perspectives from past assignments and can provide various solutions to various problems. Flexibility can also be applied to scheduling, as travel nurses can be used to fill gaps in scheduling. Our traveling nurses can stay in contact with their recruiter for any scheduling needs or conflicts to ensure a successful travel nurse assignment

Language Skills

Communication is a necessary skill for being a successful travel nurse. Communicating in a friendly, effective manner allows the travel nurse to build relationships with fellow travel nurses, hospital staff, physicians, and staff nurses. 

Effective communication starts with active listening and being aware of body language and facial expressions. Travel nurses must also pay attention to the tone, volume, and pitch of their voice. Self-awareness of the travel nurse’s communication with staff, leadership, patients, and their families is integral to a successful travel assignment.  

During the COVID-19 pandemic, travel nurses became important in passing along information. Various treatment protocols, vaccine updates, and isolation protocols were passed along with travel nurses as they moved from hospital to hospital.  

Emotional Intelligence Skills

Emotional intelligence is the ability to be aware of, control, express your emotions and handle interpersonal relationships positively. Emotional intelligence helps the travel nurse understand and empathize with patients, families, staff, and leadership. It also helps travel nurses negotiate with others and earn the trust of co-workers. Travel nurses must develop healthy working relationships with peers, supervisors, physicians, techs, lab, and those who work in other hospital areas. Because they pick up and move every few months, they do not stay in the same community with the same group of people. Learning to work with diverse groups of people from all over the country allows them the ability to build emotional intelligence.

Critical Thinking Skills

All nurses must be critical thinkers, but travel nurses do not have the comfort of being in their home unit working with staff they have worked with for years. This means travel nurses face complex problems in different departments on different assignments for which they must find solutions. They have to navigate new organizational cultures and make decisions with the information they find relevant. They can bring fresh eyes to view old policies that may be outdated but still in use. 

Travel nurses must stand up for patient safety and be an advocate for their patients no matter the circumstances. Using logical processes to evaluate patients and how specific hospital protocols differ from assignment to assignment is something travel nurses have to do often. They must use different perspectives than they are used to or were trained with to care for patients using evidence-based practice while still following the specific protocols of the hospital they are assigned to. Travel nurses must have a questioning mind and practice self-awareness that their own bias from previous assignments does not cloud their nursing judgment. They must learn where to find critical patient information such as lab values, radiology reports, progress notes, and orders to provide the best possible care to their patients.  

Love of Travel

Travel nurses are just that: Nurses who travel every few months from assignment to assignment. Yes, travel nurses can extend assignments, but a significant part of being a travel nurse is traveling.  Some travel nurses travel for the extra pay, but travel nurses also love to explore new features of the country. They often seek adventure and love to see parts of the country they have never visited. Travel nurses love to break out of their comfort zone and explore new cultures, eat different foods, and make new friends with people they would never encounter. Travel nurses love the excitement of a new city or a small town, and may love to explore the mountains on one assignment and then head to the beach for the next. 

Travel nursing allows nurses to work in larger hospital systems or teaching facilities without having the expenses of uprooting their entire life. They can explore parts of the country they have never visited and experience these areas for more than a few days on vacation. Traveling to a place for a temporary contract allows the travel nurse to dive into the local culture and dig beyond the usual tourist attractions. They can find that fantastic hole in a wall restaurant, hike the trails they have only seen in magazines, explore stores they have read about on blogs, and experience unique treasures found only in some regions of the country. The assignment time allows travel nurses to immerse into the rich history of an area and see all the characteristics that make up the personality of a place.

Travel nursing is not for everyone, but Health Carousel Travel Nursing is here to help you pursue your travel nurse dreams. Land your dream job faster when you travel with us. Get submitted quickly to top travel nurse jobs and be first in line for an interview. Get started today in On Demand. HCTN wants to build lasting relationships with qualified nurses to deliver exceptional patient care. HCTN can help you find assignments that fit your evolving needs so you can work whenever and wherever faster than any other agency through our recruiters or On Demand. The On Demand app is user-friendly and self-directed so that you can search for assignments and manage your important documents.

Author Bio

My name is Stacy Phillips, RN, BSN, CWCN, and I have been a nurse for over 20 years in critical care, wound care, and case management. I have a passion for educating patients and health care workers on living their best, healthy life.


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


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

Get Started Now


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

Find the Travel Job that’s Right for You

Interested in how the pay stacks up in other states not on this list? Our trusty Super Nurse sidekicks are standing by to answer any questions you have. Click below to get information on opportunities in other states!

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