Ask a Travel Nurse Question:
Thanks for sharing all this information — it’s a lot to take in! I am wondering how to become more specialized. I’m a pediatric RN med-surg wanting to do more traveling now that I am an empty nester. So, since ICU is a hot specialty, how can I get into PICU area? Do travel companies help you learn new specialties?
Thanks for responding!
Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:
While there can be some opportunities to float to other areas while on assignment (I’ve gathered quite a bit of ER experience as an ICU traveler), to do something like you are seeking, would likely require a hiatus from travel to work in a facility that was willing to train you in a specialized area.
I currently know of no travel company that offers training to allow floating to areas in which you were previously unqualified to work. Additionally, most companies ask for at least a year of experience in the specialty in which you wish to travel. Although I’m sure this is a mandate from the facilities rather than the agencies.
In Travel Nursing, you are being brought in to work in a certain unit with staffing needs. No unit is going to bring in a Travel Nurse and then give that staff away to other units so that they may gain experience. While Travel Nurses are often the first to float, that is when your contracted unit has enough staffing (usually core staff) and may be able to charge your hours to another unit. Or, if you are contracted to the facility as a float, you will work in any unit for which you may be qualified; however, that would rarely include any unit that would be above your skill or training. To float on a regular basis, or attempt to take a travel position in these advanced areas, would require much more experience than you could likely gain on a single assignment.
You will also not find a facility that wants to devote the resources to training a nurse (in a specialized unit) when that nurse may only be with them for a period of three months.
While you could further your skills with advanced certs like ACLS or learning specialized training like CRRT, you still would not have the experience necessary to work in the units where you could utilize this training.
I’m sorry to say that I know of no way to become proficient in higher acuity areas other than to take a break from travel, hire on at a facility that will train you, and then resume your travels once you have enough experience.
If any reader knows of any way to accomplish this, please feel free to leave a comment.