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How Much Experience Do You Need Before Working Registry/Travel?

Nurses   (1,946 Views 7 Comments)
by Pachinko Pachinko (Member)

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Hello all--yet again I turn to this wonderful resource for some input!

I've been a nurse for about seven months, and I'm glad to say that I've come a long way in that time. I'm no longer overwhelmed (or as easily overwhelmed) by work.

I'm looking toward eventually working travel or per diem a couple of days a week in addition to my current job in order to pay off some debt. Most places require at least a year of experience...my question is, is a year enough?

I know that as a travel or registry nurse you pretty much have to be independent. I also know, based on feedback from others in my area, that I'm pretty privileged in my current work environment. Our nurse-patient ratios are pretty low, which is a rarity. Wherever I go I will probably have 5-6 patients for telemetry or med-surg. I know that's still low for some people, but it's the max in California, and I usually have 3-4 patients per shift.

How much experience do you think a new nurse needs in order to be safe and effective in a registry or travel environment? Is a year enough, or would you recommend more?

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1 Follower; 26,410 Posts; 76,593 Profile Views

You may find some agencies telling you only one year of experience, but it will not be easy to get you placed with that. Telling you one thing and actually having a facility except you in another thing.

Would definitely suggest working a few per diem shifts where you live to see if you like it, and that can be for another hospital in your area, it does not have to be with an agency.

Specialty areas are requiring at least two years of experience at the minimum, and even more for Labor and Delivery and NICU. Closer to five years for assignments in those areas in most cases.

Definitely get more experience under your belt?

Which part of Michigan are you in?

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6,487 Posts; 21,377 Profile Views

The more experience you have in a certain area, the better. You have to be experienced enough to be able to jump in with both feet and work with minimal assistance. The last place I was at required a minimum of two years' ER experience for travelers.

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Dixielee is a BSN, RN and specializes in ER.

1,222 Posts; 9,624 Profile Views

I agree that it may be closer to 5 years and having several jobs might also help. Ask yourself, "would I feel comfortable in a completely new hospital, receiving as little as 4 hours orientation, taking an assignment and being asked to function independently?" If your answer is NO, then you need more experience and exposure.

I say exposure because if you have been a nurse for 5 years in the same place, you will only know one way to do something. To travel, you need to be able to look at a new piece of equipment or a new way of charting and say," I am at least familiar with a similar system, and I can quickly adapt."

Patients are the same where ever you go, but systems are different, sometimes terminology is a little different. What is called a neb treatment in one facility, may be called an updraft in the next. Some facilities still use demerol frequently, some have pulled it off the formulary. Some have standing orders for nurses while others have you wait until a doc gives you orders.

You need to be very comfortable with your procedural skills. A new facility is not going to teach you how to be a nurse and will expect that you will be proficient in IV starts (so if your hospital uses an IV team, you may be weak in that skill), NG tube placement, care of a variety of types of patients, etc. They will expect only to orient you to their way of charting and where the stock room is. The rest is up to you to figure out.

Travel nursing can be a wonderful experience, but you have to be very comfident that your skills are solid before you even try. You owe that to yourself and your patients, and any potential employers.

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97 Posts; 2,138 Profile Views

I totally agree with the responses. Is it the travel, the pay, or a new environment you seek. Ask yourself these questions. Nursing is so verstile that there are lots of other options for you before you take this on. 4-5 patients is very little. As a RN some hospitals may want you to team lead over10-12 that means you get some and are ultimately respons for the others that a lvn has. Be careful lots of good bad and ugly.

good luck go slow remember peoples lives are in your hands as well as yours if your in a lawsuit. hate to say it like that but its reality. Change jobs 1 or two more times get some more experience good luck

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6,487 Posts; 21,377 Profile Views

What Dixie said, she said it WAY better than I did!

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GadgetRN71 is a ASN, RN and specializes in Operating Room.

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I think it depends on what specialty you are working in and what you've been exposed to. I am starting the whole process and one of the agencies wants a year. They also had me fill out a skills checklist-what cases I've scrubbed/circulated. Some places will not take me(yet) but there are smaller hospitals that are interested. So, I'll try it.

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