problems getting started in travel nursing

  1. hi. i was wondering what experiences other first time travelers have had getting started in travel nursing. i have 15 months of high acuity neurology/neurosurgery/ms experience. i've been in contact with agostini, fastaff and on assigmenent, but so far have not gotten any interviews. my only stipulation was that i'd like to go to either a walkthrough state or one that is known to assign temp licenses quickly, because i don't want to spend hundreds on different state licenses indiscriminately. i know i have excellent references, so i don't really get what the problem is. one thing i'm occasionally told is that the census across the states is low right now...whatever happened to the nursing shortage??
    any ideas?
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   caroladybelle
    Many places prefer 2-5 years experience.
  4. by   flg8tr
    granted, but i'm being told time and again by these agencies that there are plenty of hospitals that will take travelers with less than two years.
  5. by   Noahj
    i'm a fairly new nurse myself (9 months) and look to travel in the future.

    my opinion is that i'd be really suspect of a hospital that would take a traveler with less than 2 years experience. 2 years seems to be the right number for a minimum that most reputable hospitals will hire.

    my hospital will not talk with anyone with less than 2 years experience.

    i think you'll see most around here will tell you to get another year under your belt before venturing out to traveling.
  6. by   flg8tr
    i've personally known travelers who had a little over a year experience when they started. while all agencies conceded that some hospitals require several years of experience, none believed it would keep me from finding placement. lastly, i'm great at what i do. i have a med school background and am frequently consulted by nurses with much more experience.
  7. by   Noahj
    i wasn't questioning your clinical skills by any means. no need to get defensive.

    i'm just stating from my experience what i've been told and read by numerous experienced nurses about travel nursing.

    i'm sure there are plenty who have started at a year of experience and have done well. however, i'm guessing that is not the norm. from what i've read, the more reputable agencies require a minimum 2 years.

    perhaps someone with more experience can chime in though.

    i wish you luck regardless. i'm looking forward to traveling myself in a few years.
  8. by   caroladybelle
    While some people certainly start with just 1 year and some facilities will take you with just one, most good ones want two. It opens up many more options.

    It also depends on specialty, locale and shift desired. If you are looking for a day shift in Hawaii, during the Winter season, in PACU, bon chance....everyone wants that and there is a lot of competition. On the other hand if you want night shift on Med/Surg in NoWhereSpecial up North in Winter, that is easier to get.
  9. by   NataRN
    I have a little over 2 years of experience and am trying to get my first travel assignment. So far - it's taking about a months and I only had 1 interview. I was really hoping to start at the beginning of October but recruiters have not found me a position yet. I'm a little discouraged as well at how long it's taking.
    However, I hear from many people that once you get your first assignment, the next ones will be easier. Many hospitals prefer to take someone with a travel experience.
    So, good luck for you and me )) I'm hoping!!!
  10. by   NurseShellie
    Most, if not all, travel companies require two years of experience. The only exception is for a basic Med/Surg nurse. Generally this is because it is a big liability to the company. Many times it isn't just the travel company that requires it, but also the hospital. The hospital is paying a premium to the travel nurse company so they expect an experienced nurse for the money. I'm not saying you don't have excellent skills, but from the hospitals point of view they want the experience.

    I would suggest waiting another 6 - 12 months and then try getting a position. FASTAFF is a great company to start with, especially if you want to make a lot of money.

    Good luck!
  11. by   reecie54
    I had some trouble when I first got started, and it gets easier once you have that first travel assignment. I have met many travellers who started with only a year experience, but many hospitals want to see travel experience, so they know you can handle it. Maybe take an assignment in a "not so hot spot" where there isn't as much competition, ie San Diego or Hawaii may have more competitin than parts of the mid west. also, ask your recruiters ( and I think it's great you hooked up with more than one company,keep your options open, and soon they will compete with each other,fighting to give you business) where there is need right now...NH sometimes offers ski passes with their contracts because most nurses go to Cali or warmer climates for the winter. in the meantime, you might want to try a local registry for some perdiems, it will show to potential employers that you can hit the ground running and give you a taste of what you are in for...
    Don't be discouraged, I've been travelling for over three years and I absolutely love it and would recommend it to any nurse interested.
    Good Luck!

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