Published Aug 18, 2003
How much exsperience is required befor you can become a traveling nurse?
renerian, BSN, RN
This seems to be the norm required by companies.
Although some of the agencies say 1 year, as a manager looking at profiles from travel nurses I look for more. I manage an intensive care in a tertiary care facility with many patients flown in from other hospitals not able to meet their needs medically or per family request.
I typically look for travel nurse profiles of nurses who have worked in that type of environment at least 1 1/2, or someone with several years experience in critical care who would feel solid in skills to learn a new enviroonment.
I never make a decision until I phone interview them at length, and ask some clinical judgement questions in addition to motivation, attitude and flexibility. I once contracted a travel nurse on her first travel assignment to my unit and should have gone with my gut instinct. She had been a critical care nurse for 11/2 years, and seemed to be pretty solid on her clinical answers, there was just something that nagged at me though so I brought her in.
I never should have done it. She received 3 days orientation with a buddy, one day with oversight by the charge nurse and on the fifth day made some judgements which I thought were critical and after I reviewed them with her, she agreed. I had to break the contract with her for not being able to fulfill her job expectations and deal with the immediate schedule jugle problem.. She had to deal with going back home, finance issues, getting another situation, etc.
I always recommend to anyone who asks me about traveling that you challenge yourself before you try it. Pick up some agency hours inyour local area-see what you need to do to fit into another environment.. Assess your patient population and decide if you need to pick up a few more skils first.
As managers we expect travelers to hit the unit and be able to work with a limited orientation. If you will need more than that , figure out a way to get it before you travel. We have had several travelers who needed additional guidance for certain specialties-that's OK. But the core skills have to be second nature in order to do that.
Great insight garden. renerian
I totally agree with garden. I've changed the hospital nearly every 2 years and it makes you very flexible in thinking and doing things. Accepting policies is important to adapt but nevertheless ask yourself why you're doing things.When I worked in NICU in Melbourne I was surprised that they've employed a young nurse just finished her exams who wasn't even able to judge a baby's colour as she was so busy staring at the monitor.... The agencies I've contacted either in Britain or in Australia told me to have at least 2 years experience in this special area. In Europe it's ideal to pass a NICU course on top of your exams means you would have at least 6 years experience!
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