Wants to be an ICU travel RN

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Hi Nurse Beth,

I'm 6 months into my first ICU position in a Neuro ICU and so far I love it. However, My long term goal is to become a travel RN, but before I start traveling I want to broaden my skill set by working in other types of ICUs. Do you have any recommendations as far as how valuable experience in a TICU vs MICI/SICU or even a CVICU would be? Thank you! 

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Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development.

Dear Wants to Broaden Skill Set,

First get at least 1-2 years under your belt so you'll be prepared for the expectations of an ICU travel nurse. 

As a travel nurse, arguably broad ICU experience is just as marketable as speciality ICU experience if not more so. The more specialised you are, the smaller your market.

Not to say working trauma and cardiovascular units is not beneficial in a travel nurse's resume, it is-but all hospitals have medical/surgical units. Not all have specialty ICU units.

Likewise, ICU charge nurses do not typically assign travel RNs their most complex patients. For example, they may not entrust a short-term travel nurse to manage the patient with a brain drain, a fresh heart, or one on continuous renal replacement therapy. Given a choice, the  charge nurse will assign the less acute patients to the travel nurse and her own staff to the higher acuity patients.

Does that make sense? So broad experience, such as in Medical ICU or Surgical ICU will benefit you well while your added specialty neuro experience is a plus.

Hope this helps and best wishes,

Nurse Beth