Travel Nursing..HELP!


I am still in nursing school, but I have serious plans to become a travel nurse after obtaining my license. I've asked SO MANY people in the field, but I cannot get a clear answer. I realize that different travel companies have different rules and requirements, but my question is this.... Once you pass the boards, how long do you have to wait before you can begin a career as a travel nurse?? I know many of you out there may not have personal experience in this, but if you are aware of any info, I would appreciate it. And of course those of you who do have personal experience in this, I would love to hear any advice you have too. I'm reaching out to you guys b/c I don't even know where to begin looking, calling, or researching this...THANK YOU!!! Take care.


15 Posts

The closest thing to a definite answer that I can give you is at least a year. I think some places require you to have at least 2 years of experience, but that's what I've gotten from the research I've done. Hope that helps!

p.s. I'm not a travel nurse, but I'm just as interested in it as you are! lol


59 Posts

Has 10 years experience.

The minimum would be a year in an area such as ICU or ER. To be honest with you, I think you need 3-5 years experience before transitioning to traveling, unless you are already comfortable in a hospital environment. Remember, when traveling you will be expected to work on a minimum orientation (sometimes as little as one precepted shift) before being tossed out on your own. You must be very comfortable and competent! Good luck, and I think traveling is a great career, especially if you don't have small children!


139 Posts

Specializes in Med/Oncology, Emergency, Surgery. Has 3 years experience.

I too have an interest in travel nursing. You can just Google it and several companies come up. You can look at jobs with each company that usually state their minimum requirements.


14,633 Posts

Many agencies will sign you up with only 6 months of experience, but that doesn't mean they'll be able to place you -- more and more hospitals are requiring 2, 3 or more years of experience (in a particular specialty). Hospitals pay a huge amount for travelers, and, for that amount of $$$, they expect to get a seasoned "pro" who is ready to hit the ground running and do the job with a bare minimum of orientation.

When you graduate and start working, notice how long it takes you to feel really comfortable and competent in your regular, full-time workplace. Then, think about how long it will take for you to feel ready to walk in and be able to function competently and independently in a new, strange work environment. When you get to that point, you'll be ready to travel.

Also, agencies are looking out for their own best interests, not yours. They will throw you to the wolves without batting an eye if it suits the company's needs. If you crash and burn, they have plenty of other warm bodies to take your place. You, though, only have you. In addition to simply being clinically competent, it's helpful to be savvy about nursing life in general to be able to protect your interests and your license, and recognize when you're being put in a dangerous situation and what to do about it, and that takes some time, also ...

Best wishes! :)


36 Posts

Specializes in Renal, Orthopedic, and School.

I may be able to help a little. My daughter worked in Birmingham 1 year after graduating before she signed on to travel. She then was assigned to Seattle (where she LOVED IT), and has just this week moved on to Phoenix. As was told to you in another post, the more ICU experience you have, the more in demand you are. I would offer this advice...Stay in a permanent position for at least a year and get all the "in-hospital" education that you can.


17 Posts

I traveled after only 1 year of experience. It helped that I was from a university hospital. People were interviewing me left and right. if you want a really good paying job you should get at least 2 years in the critical care esp cvicu. Travel nursing isn't alot of money though. when you get paid more, things are more expensive. I went to cali once and loved it. didn't get paid that much but i shopped at the 99cent stores. sooo cheap!

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