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Should I travel with 1 year L&D experience?

Nurse Beth   (251 Views | 1 Replies)
by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Writer Innovator Expert Nurse

Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho.

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Hi Nurse Beth,

I'm a nurse in L&D. I started as a new grad and have close to a year's experience now. I work in a unit with a high turnover in both staff nurses and leadership. There's a lot of instability, we are frequently understaffed yet there is a lot favoritism at play by the charges and ANMs, nurses they are friends with get easy assignments while others such as myself are given difficult ones. There is little support.

I have learned to just roll with the punches.
However, they recently demanded of me to change shifts from day to nights with near little notice due to shortage in staff, I had no say in the matter. I was called the day before a scheduled shift and told not to come in the next day but to come in that very night instead to work. I hate working nights, the assignments given are even worse, there is even less support and the leadership is even poorer. I've begun to look for other positions and have considered travel nursing.

I spoke to a recruiter who said it was possible to find contracts with one year of experience. I have some hesitancy about it. But traveling is more money and if I'm already getting terrible assignments in a work environment like this, I think I can handle a 13-week contract literally anywhere.

I was recently offered a staff position in a different state, however. They have higher acuity patients and at the interview, I felt confident that I will not have any of the problems I deal with now in my current unit. I'm not sure what to do though. Should I take another permanent position and gain more experience or do travel nursing?

I have a year left on my contact at my current job. Part of me is reluctant to sign another contract with this new hospital but they are offering me a sign-on bonus and relocation assistance. I want to make more money as well and travel nursing will pay more and give me flexibility... But I'm not sure if I'm ready for it or just worried about the unknown. What's best for my career?

Dear Reluctant,

One year's experience is minimum for a traveler, and you have "close to one year".  I wouldn't recommend traveling for a new grad, because you are in the advanced beginner stage of nursing development until about year two. While you are in the advanced beginner stage, you need a stable environment, and traveling is a risk.

As you're considering whether or not to travel, keep in mind you are expected to hit the ground running as a traveler. You will be given 1-3 days of orientation. Some units welcome  travelers, but not all. Meaning you could end up on a unit where you are given the worst assignment, and not much help from your colleagues. 

I'm not sure how you can be confident you will not have any of the problems you deal with now in the permanent staff position in the new state. There are problems everywhere. Sometimes a sign-on bonus is indicative of high turnover.

Weigh your options carefully. I would hate for you to go from the frying pan into the fire.

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31 Posts; 652 Profile Views

Thank you Nurse Beth for the advice, it is greatly appreciated. I think I will benefit from more experience so I can handle anything thrown at me when I do eventually undertake traveling, but I don't think I have a stable environment at my current workplace. The new place I interviewed at sounded great, I am leery, especially now that you mentioned a sign on bonus could also indicate high turnover but I think it might be worth the risk then to continue at my current place of employment and to risk traveling and ending up in a difficult assignment. 

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