PACU Traveler?

by WalterWho WalterWho Member Nurse

Specializes in Intensive Care and Perianesthesia Care. Has 5 years experience.

Hello my agency peeps. So recently I've been seriously entertaining the idea of agency nursing, but I'm slightly concerned about the availability of assignments. I'm a certified perianesthesia nurse working Pre-Op/PACU and would obviously like to stick to what I know. Do any of you specialty travelers ever have trouble finding contracts in your forte? Of course, i'm not above working another nursing specialty, but one of the big reasons for me going contract is getting PACU experience in various facilities and with different patient populations/types of surgeries.

Thanks, guys! Any input is greatly appreciated.



Has 37 years experience. 3,413 Posts

I've never worked as a travler. I did request travelers and became acquainted with them and their agencies.

I ASSUME different travel agencies have different contracts and degrees of abiding by those contracts.

I think you'd need to have in writing your expectations are and what happens if they are not met.

katkonk, BSN, RN

Specializes in Occupational health, Corrections, PACU. Has 25 years experience. 400 Posts

I worked for about 2.5 years doing PACU local agency stuff and one travel gig that I had planned to be 4 months, and it turned into 10 months. It depends on where you are, as to how busy you can stay via agency if you are doing local assignments. There were busy times and slower times, the main problem being last minute cancellations. One agency I worked for canceled me at the last minute all the time, after I had turned down work with other agencies. Grrrrrrr. So, I quit working for them. Traveling was a great experience over all. I went to Florida to travel, and the first hospital I had the pleasure of working in was fantastic. I was shocked that such a small city had such a top-notch anesthesia staff. They were as good as any at the 5 star hospitals where I live. Some of the best docs I have ever worked with. After they didn't need me any more (Florida "season" was over) after 7.5 months, I took a 3 month contract just down the road in another small city about 20 minutes away, so I was able to stay in the apartment I had rented for the first job. The second hospital I worked in was one of the worst hospital experiences that I have ever had. Their staffing was nuts, one of the surgeons there had serious RAGE problems, and I guess he brought them a lot of money, because they put up with it. He didn't care who you were...staff, director, nurse manager....he raged at everyone. Terrible. But it was a job, and I had a contract, so I fulfilled it. The other docs were okay, but the staffing was abysmal. You don't ever have to worry about being floated to other floors. Just be flexible. Be ready to stay over for add-on surgeries (we ALWAYS had lots of add-ons at the first hospital), and go home early if they had a slow day. But typically you got all your hours. I picked up a lot of call and overtime while I was there. When you get a PACU contract, I feel certain you can count on only working PACU or Pre-op. I didn't do Pre-op at all, only PACU. I hope this helps. Oh, and I contracted directly with the first hospital in Florida that I went to, no agency. Just a contract rate. I made a bit more money, but I had health insurance via COBRA that I paid, and so I didn't need that benefit. It was worth it to me. If you need the insurance benefit, then agency might be better. There is a huge amount of opportunity out there. If you have a certain specialty that you want experience in, you should choose your hospitals accordingly.