So I'm starting to become interested in travel nursing. I'm young, single, don't have any kids, would love to see the world and am looking to pay off some things in a short amount of time. I've been a NICU RN for two years, but I've worked in a very small unit where we don't really see Level 3 kids that often. We mostly do Level 2. I've heard that you mostly get feeders/growers anyway as a traveler because they don't trust you... but will I even be given a chance when people look at my resume? Wanting to know before I quit my job trying to pursue this.
To give a little background, I'm used to doing: feeders/growers, RDS from LFNC to BCPAP, Hypoglycemia on PIV fluids, Bili kids, Septic workups (antibiotic babies), NAS, going to high-risk deliveries...
Things I can count on one hand the times I've had the opportunity to do and I would NOT feel comfortable with in a travel assignment (with people and a unit I don't know): Vent/Oscillator, UAC/UVC/PICC sterile line changes, Micropreemes...
So does anyone with NICU travelling experience think I have a chance at getting assignments?
P.S. I would've loved to learn the things I'm not very comfortable with, but unfortunately our unit doesn't get the opportunity to see these things very often and when we do, the most experienced or new grads with a preceptor get them. So, that leaves those of us in the middle out of the loop.
If you do think I would have a chance. Maybe you can share some tips such as who is a good NICU recruiter? Thanks in advance!
Last edit by jlb_rn16 on Jun 8
Hello jlb_rn16 I'm a recruiter for a medium sized company so take my information as you will. From my personal experience NICU, PICU, and Peds in general is a very difficult and competitive field when it comes to traveling. There are a limited number of contracts out there with an over saturation of nurses to fill them so it's very difficult to find contracts. I'm not sure if it's because of the summer or a swing of specialties right now, but I would suggest looking around to see if you can find an agency that specializes in your field. Things should hopefully pick up in the fall with way more contracts, so if you're planning to travel that would be the optimal time frame that I would shoot for.
As for your chances it's going to depend on a few things. If you are a compact licensed nurse that is willing to go where the contracts are it is possible to find steady work as a NICU nurse. However, while doable I don't think it is going to be an easy endeavor it's going to take a lot of work on your part and your recruiters to make sure that you always have a contract or extension lined up. The first assignment is always the hardest in my opinion because you are just starting your travel career and have no travel experience which most facilities hold in high regards. Once you are able to put a 13 week contract under your belt it should become significantly easier for you to get contracts moving forward.
Moving forward be careful of signing up for websites like Nurse Recruiter or Travel Nurse Source because these websites will sell your information to us and you will become bombarded with calls, texts, and emails. Give out your information sparingly to individuals that you want to work with so you don't get overwhelmed with hundreds of companies trying to get a hold of you. If you have facebook a few useful groups to join would be traveler talk, gypsy nurse, and wanderlust travelers. There might be a dedicated NICU travel nurse group that you could join, but the ones listed above have veteran travelers, new travelers, and recruiters in them that can provide you some insight on what to exactly expect.
Hey there! NICU level III/IV traveler here.
There are definitely level II contracts out there. Before accepting my current position, I had a call to be interviewed from a nurse manager in Nashville which was a level 2 NICU. She explained they were a community hospital with a relatively low NICU census besides hyperbili, NAS, and r/o sepsis kids. But, NICU went to all C sections.
You could also look into "Nursery" travel jobs - a lot of times these positions will float you between nursery/NICU.
I'm with Aya Healthcare and they've been good for the most part. Let me know if you have any other questions
Get thee to a level lll and learn learn learn!!!
You might get steady work if you're compact, but you probably won't get those reeeeeeally high paying NICU assignments. Nobody is paying top dollar, $3000+ a week for level II. At some point your lack of experience in level III will be hindrance and stop you from getting a job you really want. I recommend getting as much exprerience as possible before you start traveling. Maybe find a per diem job in a level III or a level IV facility. Volunteer to take the sickest babies. Learn about ECMO and head cooling. Don't be afraid of these things. Knowing that stuff will get you steady high paying jobs.
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