Psych Travel Nurse Job: What you can expect on the job (2023)

Are you a new nurse interested in a career as a travel psychotherapist? Or are you an experienced nurse who wants to expand your skills before working as a psychiatric nurse? Remember that you need two years of recent hospital experience to get a job as a travel psychologist. Read on, then check out our travel nurse job board (many paid) and connect with a Triage recruiter to get started.

What exactly is a psychiatric ward or hospital?

These are sometimes called mental health or behavioral health units. These are the places patients go when they need mental health support.

If you work in a psychiatric ward, you may be in a larger facility that includes a mental health unit. However, if you work in a psychiatric hospital, you may have several long-term patients with serious mental health problems. If you are looking for a specific type of job, be sure to clarify with your employer before accepting so that you are not surprised on the first day of your engagement.

These facilities offer a variety of treatments, including inpatient and outpatient care, as well as day programs. Nursing facilities offer 24-hour monitoring and care. Patients can be admitted voluntarily or involuntarily, but if a patient is admitted voluntarily, they can deregister at any time.

What are the requirements for a psychiatric travel nurse?

How does one actually become a psychologist? First, you need your RN license, which means you go and graduate from nursing school and then take the NCLEX test. You must also have special certifications, such as Basic Lifesaving and Crisis Prevention Institute training. Some institutions may also require additional certifications, so before accepting a job, check with your hiring manager that you have all the necessary certifications. The last thing you want to do is find yourself needing additional confirmation during the matching process and have to scramble at the last minute.

Most mental health nurses start with another specialty before moving into behavioral health or psychiatry.
If you want to switch to psychiatry, know that you need at least two years of recent experience in a facility before you can get a job down the road. This will help you understand whether psychiatry is the right specialty for you.

Being a psychologist can be incredibly stressful. Chances are high that you will be exposed to traumatic events, stress and even depression. The work can seem thankless because the patients feel good psychologically and may not appreciate it. But that doesn't mean work isn't essential. It just means that you will have to make an effort to take care of yourself. It's like on an airplane when they say put your mask on before you help others - you can't take care of others if you're not feeling well. See if your travel company's benefits include an employee assistance program. These EAPs offer free counseling and programs designed to help you take care of your own mental health

Tasks for patients, floating and psychiatric travel nurses

Patients in behavioral health units can be there for a variety of reasons, and facilities can have youth, adults, and the elderly. People may be admitted to hospital for concerns such as:

  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Bodily harm to self or others
  • Mood disturbances, including emotional distress or anxiety
  • Addiction to alcohol and drugs

Behavioral health nurses are unlikely to move to another unit because of their specialty duties. However, check your contract for flotation options before you sign it, just to double check that you are not expected to flotation.

How much does a Psych Travel Nurse make per hour?

So let's get down to business - how much does a psychiatric travel nurse make? As with most other nursing professions, career opportunities are good. Nursing is widely expected to be a growth career field, as up to 800,000 nurses are expected to leave the profession over the next 3-5 years. This labor shortage means all career fields will grow in nursing, and mental health is no exception.

The average salary for these nurses is around $91,000, although it can vary from place to place. For example, in California the average salary is $102,000, but in West Virginia the average salary is just over $80,000. It is a wide range of average prices that may depend on location and experience.

Currently (as of May 2023), the weekly salary for a mental health nurse ranges from $1,500 to $3,500 per week, which means that if you work 36 hours per week, the daily salary for a travel nurse is $500-$1,100. Before accepting a job, talk to your recruiter and see if the cost of living in the area meets your needs for the average mental health nurse salary in the area. For example, a psychiatric travel nurse salary in California of $3,500 can be compared to a rate closer to $2,500 in a lower cost of living area. If you still want to work in an area with the highest cost of living, that's entirely your choice, but it's our job to make sure you have all the relevant details before accepting the job.

Find Psych Travel Nurse jobs near me (or even far away)

When starting your psychiatric travel nurse job search, the first step is to speak with a Triage Recruiter. Psychology is a subspecialty, which means you may not have as many options as a doctor or telehealth nurse. That doesn't mean we can't find you a job, it just means you might need to be a little more flexible with your location or payment requirements. It is possible that your recruiter will not be able to find a job that meets all your criteria, but after the interview he will be able to understand which are the most important factors in your selection.

After you interview your recruiter, you will also need to confirm that you are licensed in the state you wish to travel to. If your primary license is in a compact state, you're in luck because this opens up many other options in any state that is part of the compact agreement. However, if you're driving in a non-compact state, it may take some time to figure out your permit. California, for example, can take up to 8-10 weeks for a temporary permit and 10-12 weeks for a permanent permit. So if you're considering a job in California, make sure you have your ducks in a row before you sign the contract.

Finally, before accepting the contract, consider the home. An apartment can be difficult to find, especially if the facility is in a rural area or a small town. Many travelers prefer to stay in a hotel for the first week until they find the best places to stay in the area. This also allows you to determine whether the allocation is good before you sign a three-month lease. What if you get there and find that the job is not secure? A good recruiter wants to look out for you (and protect your license), so if that's the case, talk to your recruiter or clinical person. If something goes wrong, at least you won't be stuck with the lease.

But back to the home. Before you accept a job, you should make sure you find cheap accommodation. If your business is in a small town or rural area, lodging options may be few or require a long commute to find something in the range you want to pay. It's a good idea to do this before you sign the contract so you know if the payment is enough to cover your expenses at home and enough to double your expenses while you're on the road.

Triage recruiters will work tirelessly to find our travelers the right assignment, but they won't tell you what you want to hear just to get you to sign on the dotted line. If that gig by the sea isn't a day at the beach, they'll tell you, and then they'll rush like hell to find you a job, they'll check as much as you want.

To find a travel psychologist job, see ourtravel nurse jobsboard today.


Psych Travel Nurse Job: What you can expect on the job? ›

In these travel nursing jobs, you may assist in behavioral therapy programs, check on patients' progress, record information about patients' conditions, and handle crisis intervention duties.

What are expectations for travel nurses? ›

A Travel Nurse needs to be an expert in all areas of nursing to ensure their patients receive proper treatment. They also need excellent communication skills as they work directly with patients and alongside Physicians and other healthcare professionals throughout their shift.

What can I expect as a psych nurse? ›

Common duties include observing patients, administering medications, and helping with self-care and general physical health. It can be a varied and rewarding career requiring neurobiological, psychosocial, and nursing expertise.

Is a psychiatric nurse a hard job? ›

Psychiatric nursing is demanding, in some ways it is more demanding than general practice nursing, but many nurses find it to be the ideal career for their qualifications and interests. It can be a financially rewarding nursing specialty as well.

Is being a travel nurse stressful? ›

Disadvantages of Being a Travel Nurse

Travel nursing is not much different than staff nursing, but there may be some stressors that the constant movement can cause. For instance, travel nurses walk into a new hospital or facility and need to relearn a new system, understand people, and meet new patients each time.

How do I prepare for a travel nurse job? ›

Here are 10 ways you can prepare for a career as a travel nurse.
  1. Do your research. ...
  2. Connect with other travel nurses. ...
  3. Get a year (or more!) of experience. ...
  4. Consider what area you want to work in. ...
  5. Think about the certifications you need. ...
  6. Decide where you want to travel. ...
  7. Be comfortable with change. ...
  8. Get your own health in order.
Sep 21, 2021

What personality traits are needed for travel nursing? ›

Stand-out Travel Nurses: 7 Traits Recruiters and Employers Want
  • Professionalism. ...
  • Reliability and trustworthiness. ...
  • The ability to learn new skills and grow. ...
  • A great attitude. ...
  • An open mind and flexibility. ...
  • Comfort with change. ...
  • High-tech experience.

Why choose psych nursing? ›

Working as a Psychiatric Nurse will allow me to provide direct nursing care, support and advocacy for my clients, and educate the public. As a Psychiatric Nurse, I hope to make a positive contribution in this field so that people struggling with these challenges can feel more supported and heard.”

Why do you want to work in psych nursing? ›

A career in mental health can be both rewarding and challenging. Psychiatric nurses help those that may deal with a variety of mental illness conditions, including trauma, substance abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Helping patients improve their mental health can provide you with a satisfying career.

Is psych nurse worth it? ›

With high salaries, good job prospects, and multiple ways of entry into the career, psychiatric nursing is an excellent career choice for aspiring nurses. Every day you go into work – whether in a hospital or community setting – you know that your care is directed towards some of the most vulnerable people.

What is the highest paid psychiatric nurse? ›

High Paying Psychiatric Nurse Jobs
  • Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. Salary range: $110,000-$161,500 per year. ...
  • Advanced Practice Psychiatric Nurse. ...
  • Psychiatric Registered Nurse. ...
  • Mental Health Advanced Practice Nurse. ...
  • RN Behavioral Health. ...
  • Psychiatric Clinical Nurse Specialist. ...
  • Mental Health Nurse.

Where do psych nurses get paid the most? ›

Highest paying cities for Psychiatric Nurses near United States
  • New York, NY. $80.73 per hour. 211 salaries reported.
  • Detroit, MI. $65.03 per hour. 51 salaries reported.
  • Conroe, TX. $51.73 per hour. 6 salaries reported.
  • Phoenix, AZ. $49.92 per hour. 396 salaries reported.
  • Chattanooga, TN. $47.35 per hour. ...
  • Show more nearby cities.

What is the hardest type of nurse to be? ›

Most Stressful Nursing Positions
  • Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nurses. ICU is an extremely high-pressure environment and these nurses work with patients who have significant injuries and disease with added morbidity risks. ...
  • Emergency Department nurses. ...
  • Neonatal ICU. ...
  • OR nursing. ...
  • Oncology Nursing. ...
  • Psychiatric Nursing.
Jan 27, 2021

What type of travel nurse makes the most money? ›

9 highest paying travel nurse jobs
  • Home health registered nurse. ...
  • Hospice nurse. ...
  • Travel nurse. ...
  • Oncology registered nurse. ...
  • Labor and delivery nurse. ...
  • Operating room registered nurse. ...
  • Emergency room registered nurse. ...
  • Intensive care registered nurse. National average salary: $142,136 per year.
Mar 3, 2023

How rich are travel nurses? ›

How Much Money Do Travel Nurses Make? Under normal circumstances, many travel nurses have the potential to earn over $3,000 per week. Travel nurses can bring in over $50 per hour, plus company-paid housing accommodations. Making it entirely possible for travel nurses to make well over $100K per year.

Is travel nursing worth it anymore? ›

Basically, by the time you add everything up, including your housing, health insurance for travel nurses, and competitive salary package, it's a very lucrative career. And when tax time rolls around, you also get to enjoy many different travel nurse tax deductions. Just remember, these deductions can vary by location.

How long does it take to get hired as a travel nurse? ›

It typically takes 1 to 5 weeks to get a travel nursing job. However, a host of variables affect the length of time it takes to get a travel nursing job. As a result, it can take less than a week in some cases and much longer than 5 weeks in other cases.

How can I maximize my travel nurse salary? ›

4 Tips to Boost Your Travel Nurse Pay/Find High-Paying Assignments
  1. 1 | Find a good recruiter. ...
  2. 2 | Choose assignments that are in high demand. ...
  3. 3 | Be selective with the assignments you take. ...
  4. 4 | Take the housing stipend and find cheaper housing.
Apr 27, 2023

How long should you work as a nurse before traveling? ›

Most travel agencies and hospitals require nurses to have a minimum of two years of nursing experience prior to applying for travel nursing contracts. Ideally, nurses should have the following characteristics before pursuing travel nursing, Strong clinical background. Leadership skills.

Are travel nurses happy? ›

Travel nurses feel less supported than other types of nurses. 92% of travel nurses feel that their mental health has suffered because of their job (more than any other type of nurse)

What is the best part of being a travel nurse? ›

  1. Great pay. ...
  2. You will have a tax-free living stipend. ...
  3. You get the chance to travel. ...
  4. You will make new friends. ...
  5. You can avoid all the politics at work. ...
  6. You will gain experience. ...
  7. Flexibility. ...
  8. You can try before you dive all in.

What is hard about being a travel nurse? ›

Travel Nursing is one of the most rewarding experiences, but it also comes with hard work, long hours, flexibility, and the ability to adapt quickly to a lot of things. Everyone responds differently, and oftentimes it's just an adjustment that you get used to after the first or few assignments.

Is mental health nursing in high demand? ›

Demand for mental health specialists, including mental health nurses — advanced practice mental health nurses, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners, and mental health registered nurses — continues to grow, with 250,000 jobs projected by 2025. Mental health nurses serve a vital need in the healthcare community.

What are the statistics for psychiatric nurses? ›

81.9% of all psychiatric nurses are women, while 18.1% are men. The average age of an employed psychiatric nurse is 43 years old. The most common ethnicity of psychiatric nurses is White (65.3%), followed by Black or African American (11.7%), Hispanic or Latino (9.5%) and Asian (8.9%).

Why did you choose psych? ›

Insight into human behavior: Many individuals study psychology because they want to better understand themselves or those around them. Through a bachelor's degree in psychology, you'll gain a deeper understanding of the many factors that affect human behavior.

What are the 6 C's of nursing? ›

Why were the 6 Cs of nursing introduced? The 6 Cs – care, compassion, courage, communication, commitment, competence - are a central part of 'Compassion in Practice', which was first established by NHS England Chief Nursing Officer, Jane Cummings, in December 2017.

What to expect in a mental health nurse interview? ›

The format of the interview is a multiple mini interview. You will meet a number of lecturers, mental health nurses and service users. Each person will ask you to consider a realistic scenario from everyday life or related to a situation that a health care professional may need to manage within their working life.

What questions do they ask during interview? ›

Most Common Job Interview Questions:
  • Tell me something about yourself.
  • How did you hear about this position?
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • Why did you decide to apply for this position?
  • What is your greatest strength?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What do you know about this company/organization?
Mar 23, 2023

Is being a psychiatric nurse stressful? ›

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners, like so many healthcare workers, struggle with job stress. But their rates of burnout are worse than nurses in other specialties. According to the American Psychological Association, between 21% and 61% of mental health workers experience burnout.

Do psych nurses wear scrubs? ›

Many psychiatric facilities and settings allow or require that nurses and support staff wear street clothing instead of scrubs.

Do psych nurses study psychology? ›

Psychology nurses have the same education as any other type of nurse, it's just that they have decided to focus on psychology patients. For those who are particularly interested in working with psychology patients, earning a master's or doctorate degree to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner is an option.

Who are the highest to lowest paid nurses? ›

Highest Paid Nursing Jobs:
  • Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse – $120,000.
  • General Nurse Practitioner – $118,000.
  • Critical Care Nurse – $118,000.
  • Certified Nurse Midwife – $114,000.
  • Informatics Nurse – $102,000.
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist – $95,000.
  • Nurse Educator – $82,000.
  • Legal Nurse Consultant – $81,000.
Dec 5, 2022

What is the turnover rate of psychiatric nurses? ›

Background: One corporation with four psychiatric inpatient facilities experienced an average RN turnover rate of 54% annually, with approximately 75% of new hires leaving within 6 months of employment.

Where is the highest paid nurse in the world? ›

Switzerland: Nurses in Switzerland have some of the highest salaries in the world, with an average annual salary of around $85000. Canada: Nurses in Canada earn an average annual salary of around $75000. Germany: Nurses in Germany have an average salary of around $65000.

What is the best state for psych nurses? ›

Nursing and psychology are the most common majors for people with jobs as psychiatric registered nurses. Our research put New York at no. 1 on the list of best paying states for psychiatric registered nurses. Connecticut, California, and Alaska also ranked high on our list.

What are the highest paid US states for nurses? ›

In the United States overall, the average registered nurse salary is $82,750 and the median (50th percentile) is $77,600. California, with RN salaries averaging $124,000, is the highest-paying state for nurses as of May 2021 (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Why do psychiatric nurse practitioners make so much money? ›

Psychiatric nurse practitioners are highly in demand across the state of California and this growth translates into most PNPs earning handsome salaries.

Which nurses have the highest burnout? ›

Critical care nurses suffer the highest rates of burnout.

This is mainly due to the nature of the job, as critical care nurses work specialize in the emergency department (ED) and intensive care unit (ICU). As such, their work environment is constantly fast-paced, meticulous, and demanding.

Can you make 200k as a travel nurse? ›

Even with the decrease, travel nurses can make nearly $200,000 per year, assuming a weekly rate of $3,080.

Is travel nursing slowing down 2023? ›

While weekly travel nursing rates may fall slightly during the first couple of months of 2023, these new salary trends will be the “new floor” of travel pay, says Tim Needham, senior vice president of product at Vivian Health.

Do travel nurses make 6 figures? ›

In addition to their base wage, travel nurses can also receive extra compensation that can include sign-on and referral bonuses as well as housing, expense, and meal stipends. For some travel nurses, it can even be possible to make six figures — or over $100K — as a travel nurse.

Do travel nurses move a lot? ›

If you're considering a career as a travel nurse, you may move frequently, often several times a year. While some contracts may receive extensions, it's common for travel nurses to change locations as much as four times per year.

Is a travel nurse a stressful job? ›

However, travel nursing can also be a stressful profession. According to one study published in Nursing Research and Practice, 92% of nurses have moderate, high, or very high levels of work-related stress. Travel nurses also experience their own unique set of stressors on top of those suffered by regular nurses.

Why are travel nurses paid so much? ›

Travel nurses take on short-term assignments, which typically start at 13-weeks, ensuring that patients receive quality care even if a facility is having trouble filling open nursing positions. In exchange for their experience and flexibility, travel nurses typically get paid more than staff nurses.

Can you be a travel nurse forever? ›

Overall, a traveling nurse can take travel contracts in the same area or at the same healthcare facility for 12 months. This means you can extend your travel nursing job at the healthcare facility you're currently on contract with for an additional 39 weeks or up until the year mark of your first contracted day.

Do travel nurses get retirement? ›

Depending on the travel nursing agency you choose, you may be offered a 401(k) as part of your benefits package. Did you know we offer a 401k? Learn more about our travel nurse benefits. A 401(k) is a retirement savings account that you can contribute to and may include employer contributions.

Do travel nurses get canceled? ›

Sometimes a healthcare facility will terminate a travel nurse's contract unexpectedly. This can occur for various reasons; census can drop leading to an unpredictably-low census, overstaffing, budget concerns, or if the hospital mistakenly hired you when your skill set doesn't match the unit you were hired for.

What is the scope of practice for a travel nurse? ›

Travel health nurses are specially educated and trained to promote the health and safety of travelers through comprehensive risk analysis, assessment, immunizations, health education, and therapeutic interventions.

What's the most needed especially in travel nursing? ›

Travel L&D nurses must be able to monitor fetal and maternal health, provide encouragement and support, and communicate well. Typically, travel positions require experience and basic or advanced life support and neonatal resuscitation program credentials.

How do nurses feel about travel nurses? ›

Mental Health Concerns for Travel Nurses

Travel nurses are more likely to be burnt out than other types of nurses. Travel nurses feel less appreciated than other types of nurses. Travel nurses feel less supported than other types of nurses.

What is the 1 year rule for travel nursing? ›

The One-Year Limit Rule

One thing all travel nurses must remember is that there is a one-year limit to staying in one assignment. While you can extend the same travel nurse assignment multiple times, once you've reached a year, you must not only leave the assignment but the location itself.

How many hours do travel nurses work a week? ›

Generally speaking, travel nurses will usually work a 40-hour workweek. The workweek will either be: Five 8-hour shifts. Four 10-hour shifts.

Is travel nurse a hard job? ›

Travel Nursing is one of the most rewarding experiences, but it also comes with hard work, long hours, flexibility, and the ability to adapt quickly to a lot of things. Everyone responds differently, and oftentimes it's just an adjustment that you get used to after the first or few assignments.

Why is travel nurse salary so high? ›

The demand for nurses and other health care professionals skyrocketed during the pandemic, which led to a greater need for travel nurses. And that unprecedented demand also helped drive extremely high salaries for travel nurses.

What state pays travel nurses the most? ›

5 Highest Paying States for Travel Nurses in 2022
  1. 1. California. In 2022, it's no surprise that California is still the highest paying state for travel nurses. ...
  2. Hawaii. Hawaii may just be the dream destination! ...
  3. Massachusetts. ...
  4. Oregon. ...
  5. Alaska.

Is it fun to be a travel nurse? ›

As a travel nurse, you have a fun and flexible lifestyle that few people can boast. But more than that, it's a great way to build up your career and experience in ways that you could never imagine.

What does a typical day look like for a travel nurse? ›

Travel nurses typically work 12-hour shifts, either during the day or at night. Their duties may include assessing patients, administering medications, creating care plans, and communicating with other healthcare professionals.

How do you know if travel nursing is for you? ›

10 Signs You Would Be Perfect For a Travel Nursing Career
  1. You Hate Workplace Drama. ...
  2. You Want to Make More Money. ...
  3. You Enjoy Meeting New People. ...
  4. You Get Bored Easily. ...
  5. You Adapt to Change Well. ...
  6. You Are Adventurous. ...
  7. You Want to Test the Waters before Fully Committing. ...
  8. You Want to Pick When You Work.
Jun 7, 2021


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