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Thinking about Travel Nursing

Specializes in Emergency Room.

Hello All,

I have been and EMT and LPN for 6 years. I just graduated with my RN from the University of Alaska and would like to travel. I have worked in an LTAC and ICU step-down unit civilian side and also worked in an ICU deployed with the military. Due to scope of practice laws in AK I have worked home-health (lots of DM/HD/ESRD/Wound pts) for the previous 2 years as an LPN. I don't currently have ACLS or PALS but have held both certifications in the past as well as Cardiac Telemetry class. I plan on recertifying in ACLS prior to applying to any company.

What are seasoned veterans opinions on a "new grad" getting a travel position (please no negativity)? Also any pointers on where to look and who will hire me? I would like to start in Med-Surg as I have not worked in critical care for several years but feel very comfortable and confident working a Med-Surg unit at this time.

Last, it occurred to me that I may find a place I love while traveling. Are there any rules about taking a permanent position directly after a travel position at a hospital?

Thanks for the feedback!!!!

bagladyrn, RN

Specializes in OB.

I'm not sure what you mean by no negativity. Ths is not meant that way, but you will have a much better experience traveling if you first spend at least a year getting experience in your new role as an RN prior to traveling.

Most companies do require at least a year of current experience in the area in which you plan to travel. Many hospitals require more. You need to be ready to walk into a new facility and begin functioning totally independently within one to two shifts.

Taking the time would also insure that you have time to research companies and find the best fit for you. The "best" can vary considerably depending on what you are looking for in traveling. It will also give you the time to save up money as you really need to have a minimum of 3 months expenses saved up prior to leaving home, especially given today's uncertain job market.

I'm sure this is not what you really wanted to hear, but following this will go a long way to making you able to really enjoy traveling.

Most companies will require 12 months of experience as an RN. If you leave yourself open to rural and remote areas you might be able to capitalize on your LVN experience and land something. Many MedSurg jobs are requiring ACLS so it is worth it.


Specializes in Emergency Medicine.

Don't set yourself up for failure. You need to be extremely comfortable in your environment (tele, neuro, ER/ICU) before you travel.

Hospitals that utilize travelers are usually in need of nurses with strong skills to shore-up a weak or troubled ward. You have to hit the ground running with just one or maybe two days orientation and be capable.

Different protocols, different software, different ways of doing things. If you're not up to speed they'll eat you alive, send you packing... Then you're stuck paying your own travel expenses (no compensation) and are still out of a job.

Not good.



Specializes in Paramedic,ER, House Supervisor, OR, CVOR.

My first job as a nurse was a travel contract at Highland General Hospital in Oakland, CA. It was the county Trauma Center and I worked in their very busy ER for two different assignments. I went to school at a Community College in Iowa and have an ADN. Previously I had worked as an EMT-Paramedic for a small busy hospital based Emergency Medical Service. During nursing school I would work 9am to 9pm in the ER every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Three travel companies accepted my applications and submitted me for positions. Circulating Nursing in Ma. assisted me with the job. That was in 1989. I took my Nursing Boards and as soon as my Iowa License arrived I headed for California, stopped in Sacramento for my "walk through" licensing and started working in early November (right after the San Francisco earth quakes). In my years of travel nursing I have not met another person with my luck. I'm proud that I am still able to travel as an RN. Good luck and just keep trying.



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