How many years experience for NICU travel nursing?

  1. I'm to talk to a recruiter soon, but thought I'd ask here for personal advice, too.

    How much experience is needed to be a NICU travel RN? Even if I qualify what do you recommend and what kind of assignments does a traveler get? I want to keep building my skills while I travel, not get set back with a bunch of feeders/growers all the time.

    ive been in NICU 1 yr 2 mos and did med-surg 1 yr 10 mos so I have over two years of acute care. I had previous nursing jobs not in the hospital. And I come from a level III NICU. We do everything but ECMO and cardiac surgery. Also get a lot of transports.

    also, what is your experience with leaving your permanent job? How did managers perceive that and what would you recommend in order to be on good terms so that you may return to that job in the future possibly?
    Last edit by tinybbynurse on Dec 13, '17
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  2. 3 Comments

  3. by   KKEGS
    I worked not quite 3 years in a Level III NICU and left 1 year and 4 months ago to work as a school nurse. My hospital would not let me stay on as a casual nurse but they told me if I was interested in picking up shifts I could sign with the staffing agency they use. So I did. The agency required 1 year of NICU experience, but my own personal experience is that I'm glad I had nearly 3 years. I didn't feel fully able to care for any baby they assigned me no matter how sick until I'd been there for 2 years. I pick up at least one shift a month on my old unit but I'm also able to pick up at a few other hospitals in the area which I don't really do because I work so infrequently that I'd forget where stuff was or how they did things. I still remember the routine and the set up of my old unit so that is where I prefer to work.

    I do get mostly feeder/growers. The most respiratory support I've had in the year I've been working as an agency nurse is CPAP. That being said my friend who also left the NICU but picks up as an agency nurse gets sicker babies on ventilators, chest tubes, etc. I'm happy with my feeder/growers so I don't request sicker babies. The expectation though is that you'd be able to take any assignment for which you are qualified.
  4. by   tinybbynurse
    Thanks for your reply. I spoke to a recruiter and they said I just need that one year of experience, and I have a little over that, and will have a 1-2 months more by the time I leave. While I feel like in theory the best option might be to stay a full 2 years where I'm at to get more specialty experience, the bad in that outweighs the good. For personal/wellbeing/mental health reasons, I've decided it's best that I leave as soon as I can. Sometimes we have to balance work with life and I've worked alot to get to where I am and I think it's time I choose my wellbeing and go with my year of experience and continue to build while I travel. That being said, I will definitely seek out a variety of assignments and speak to people about the places that will allow me to build on my experience. I even work with some people who have traveled previously so I could ask them what kind of locations gave them what kind of assignments. Also, I don't plan on doing this more than a year (so far atleast!) in which case, say I did get a bunch of feeders/growers, I can settle down with a permanent position before I spend years and years traveling just getting feeders/growers. Thank you for reply again!
  5. by   NedRN
    Start with an assignment well within your skills at a traveler friendly hospital (you need a good recruiter you can trust who has placed in the same NICU they have open). You do not want to be clinically challenged while adjusting to new everything else including culture and charting software.

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