Hey to all my fellow nurses,
Asking a couple (if not more) questions regarding my dreams to become a travel nurse, I'll try to be brief!
I am currently an RN Circulator in a pediatric operating room and started this position in Jan 2018. I previously graduated with my BSN in 2016 and worked on a Med/Surg peds floor for about 1.5 years before transferring to the OR. I have always wanted to travel nurse, but I wanted to find a specialty I liked before I hit the road. Now that I've found that in the Pediatric OR, I'm looking at the timeline of when I've gained enough experience to travel. I know the year mark in your specialty is VITAL, which I will have come this January, but I've also heard 2 years for certain specialties is recommended. Asking from others with operating room travel, preferably peds, experience how they feel on the subject. Does my previous floor experience help me at all? Anyone have any experience traveling especially in a pediatric OR? Also, any OR nurses have an insight to how call looks traveling?
As a circulator in our OR, we work in Neuro, Ortho, General, Plastics, ENT, Urology, Opthalmology, Hand, and a little basic GI which I feel has given me a broad range of experience. Always learning, growing, but also seeing how flexible I've become to face any situation I'm needed in if I know the right resources. I guess I'm so ready to go, and my question what's the advice for if this is enough experience for this speciality. I don't want to be foolish with my decisions so I appreciate and respect any and all advice given! Seeing where to head from here, thanks!!
While some hospitals may be desperate enough to take you on as a traveler, you would be foolish to accept. I can promise you that you are in no way equipped to hit the ground running in a new OR now. A good OR orientation by itself takes 6 to 12 months. The only OR nurses I've ever met that were ready to travel with less than a year experience had several years experience as a scrub. Two years experience is a minimum for OR. It also happens to be the minimum before you are eligible for certification. No, medsurg experience doesn't count (but certainly helps you professionally to understand the pathophysiology of your patients).
Call is a general requirement of most OR assignments. Some travelers manage to not take call, but they are few. Most hospitals will not slam you with call for at least three weeks (and you won't really be ready by then to work with no support but you do what you can).
@NedRN thank you for this!! Gathering wisdom and want to get the right experience before I jump in.
Straight pediatric ORs are a small subset of all ORs, going to guess less than 10%. Some larger hospitals do have significant pediatric programs but generally those may require adult experience. So your choice of assignments may be poor, but when they happen they should pay well (as the hospitals also have less choice). My experience in peds is limited (outside of pediatric open heart) to the random kinds of cases done by community hospitals and occasional floating at a teaching hospital. No doubt you know this already, but there is often the expectation that you start an IV as the anesthesia provider gasses down the kid - a skill I don't have - so that has limited my pediatric opportunities. You will be able to circle many adult cases with pediatric experience, but that won't make you as valuable as actual adult experience in common bread and butter cases like totals, or abdominal cases with full counts. If travel is really important to you, try to gain some staff experience in adult surgeries too. Perhaps there are other pedi OR nurses that can give you a better idea of the travel market, but I see very few pedi assignments posted by agencies.
Everything Ned said is true. 2 years would also be my minimum suggestion unless you had prior experience thats applicable. You rarely see pedi only ORs looking for travelers, quite a few want pedi experience though. Id hit an adult OR and get a year there then hit the road. There is a lot more to learn on the older people.....
Im one of the rare ones that has not taken call as a traveller, 4+ years traveling...
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