Supplemental Nurse

A supplemental nurse is a licensed registered nurse who functions like a temporary worker in the healthcare field. They usually work for a nursing agency, bolstering permanent nursing staff in hospitals or clinics. You could work as a supplemental nurse in almost any nursing specialty, and in any healthcare facility where nurses are employed. They can be hired for just the day, or for extended periods of time.

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How to Become a Supplemental Nurse

The qualifications for a supplemental nurse are generally no different than that of a regular nurse working on a permanent nursing staff. You will need to be a registered nurse (RN) with a nursing degree from an accredited nursing program. You can pursue this degree by earning a quicker Associate Degree of Science in Nursing (ASN) or by earning a standard, four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree from a college or university. A nursing diploma offered by participating hospital nursing program is also an option, although associate degrees have become more common. Once you have earned your degree, to become licensed, you must take and pass the nursing licensing exam, called the NCLEX (National Council Licensing Examination).

One of the benefits of working as a supplemental nurse is that you can have tremendous flexibility. If you are at a point in your life where you need to work around family or school and do not want the rigidity of a permanent job, this could be an excellent option to get different types of work experience, while still controlling your schedule.

The average salary of a nurse in 2008 was $62,450, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Because supplemental nurses can fill in for nursing at any level, your salary will depend on your nursing degree and what type of nursing or specialty you are qualified to work in. Generally the wages for supplemental nurses are higher, due to the lack of job security and benefits, although some agencies do provide benefits. In order to succeed you will need strong nursing skills and be adaptable to different nursing environments, and be confident in your professional abilities.

If you are interested in this type of nursing job and think it will suit you at a certain stage of your career, you should look into a supplemental nursing service agency for employment opportunities near you. Because of the country’s nursing shortage, there will likely continue to be demand for supplemental nurses across the board in healthcare, whether you are an experienced nurse or new to the profession, or a nurse with an associate degree or a master’s in a nursing specialty. So consider this unique option if you are a nurse or planning to become one and seeking the right nursing degree program.