Published Feb 12, 2014
Hi all! I am a nurse from the New England area with about 18 months experience. I am still in my first nursing job and am ready to go elsewhere. I have been seriously thinking about doing travel nursing but am worried that I do not have enough experience. I currently work on a med-surg urology oncology floor, but the floor is not limited to just that. Because I am perdiem I also float first so I have alot of experience being thrown into somewhat unfamiliar territory. I am not afraid to ask my fellow nurses questions where I am now, but I heard being a traveler you are outcast alot of the time. I guess I was just wondering what experienced travelers were like when they started! Seriously any advice would be great at this point as I am still trying to figure out my next life plan ha!
Ruby Vee, BSN
Most travel companies want at least two years of experience in the specialty you're traveling in. When you travel, you often get very little (1-3 shifts) orientation, and you have to hit the ground running. They'll orient you to their paperwork, where to get blood, drugs, lab results, etc. in their system, but they're not going to orient you to patient care. You're expected to already know that. I'd advise you to get another six months (at least) of experience, and while you're doing so start checking out the various travel companies and find out what is required.
I started traveling after 2.5 years of experience. My first travel assignment was at a well known academic hospital and I learned a lot, it was much higher acuity than I was use to. I think having that name on my resume has helped me land other positions. I think going to a hospital that is known to be traveler friendly and has a good reputation is a good idea for your first assignment.
If you can get your experience to a solid two years you may have an easier time finding that first assignment. It sounds like you have good experience so far, but managers want to see that you have 2 yrs or more. That gives you time to research companies/recruiters and figure out where you want to go. Also any certifications you can obtain if needed to help boost your resume. Good luck.
I don't really know the market in med/surg as a traveler but you just want to be sure you can get a job as a traveler before leaving your permanent position.
I took your post to be asking if you are ready professionally, not if the agency will find you employable. Confidence is great if you get the interview. Back to your question, are you able to do agency per diem within a reasonable driving distance? That will tell you more than the comfort and support provided even on other floors where you are staff, and familiar charting. A completely new hospital with minimal orientation, different tasks performed by you and support staff, and new charting and work flow will tell you a lot about your ability to adapt quickly to a new environment. Also, have that on your work history will help relax agencies about your ability to take on a travel assignment.
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