Experience time? Agencies vs facilities


  • Specializes in MICU. Has 2 years experience.

How much time does your agency require in your specialty before you can take assignments? 1 year or more?

Does it seem to be more of a facility by facility issue for those of you who have had the requisite requirements for your agency but not for certain facilities?

I'm contemplating taking a travel contract after 18 months in my current specialty. with what will be three total years of RN experience. I'm very interested in your responses.



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Agencies are just conduits. If hospitals would hire travelers right out of school, agencies would not have a problem with it. The reality is that competency and proficiency is gained over time, and managers are nurses and know it. A year is generally considered the minimum, but there is a significant difference between a one year and two year and three year nurse and ten year nurse. If you think you are proficient in your specialty compared to above average peers, you may be ready to enter a very different practice environment, be able to hit the ground running, and practice safely.

Yet there is still the competitive issue. Depending on your specialty and the needs, you may have to go to less than good hospitals. Each hospital will have a fixed bill rate with the same compensation to a traveler. If you were a manager with a choice between a nurse with 18 months experience and one with 10 years specialty experience for the same cost, which one would you choose?

Most experienced travelers will look back and recommend two full years of specialty experience before hitting the road. You may be ready now, but be honest with yourself. If possible nearby, check your skills and adaptability with per diem shifts at other hospitals.


37 Posts

Specializes in MICU. Has 2 years experience.

Thanks! I figured two years in specialty was the minimum. I was trying to avoid committing to a full time facility while I figure out if an SO and I would work out in another state.


169 Posts

Has 4 years experience.

I had 20 months of experience as a nurse, all in ICU, before I became a traveler. The general want of facilities is 2 years of nursing experience, and then some require 1, some require 2 years specialty experience. But they also make exceptions based on how bad they need the traveler, when they need the traveler by, and how your interview goes. I have had my agency submit me to jobs that "require" 2 years of experience when I had just 20-23 months of experience, and I was hired both times.

I think with your experience, you would do fine to find a travel nurse job. It took me about 2 weeks to find my first job as a traveler. Just keep in mind, you may not be able to go exactly where you want without the extra experience.

And NedRN is right, it's the facility that dictates what they want in a traveler, the agency is just the middleman. I have had my agency submit me to jobs that "require" 2 years of experience when I had just 20-23 months of experience, and I was hired both times.