What experience is needed to start travel nursing?
Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:
While it used to be a year of experience in whichever specialty you wanted to travel, most companies now mandate at least two years of recent experience.
You will also be best served if that experience is hospital based (unless of course your specialty is something like home care).
You can possibly have two years in different specialties. For example, if you first started your practice working on a tele floor, and then moved into the ICU, you could take a travel assignment in ICU (but of course those with two years of strict ICU might be chosen first).
There will be companies that will say that they can find you an assignment with only a year of experience. However, it’s not the travel company’s mandate, it’s the facility’s. I hear from many a nurse who has been assured, by a travel company, that they will find them a position with less than two years of experience. By the time they contact me, they are often very disenchanted with the whole notion of travel nursing as they frequently never hear back from the travel company again (because no hospital was willing to hire a travel nurse with less than two years).
The only exceptions I have seen, where nurses are finding work with less than two years, are in hospitals that are in desperate need of specialty staff (ICU, CVICU, NICU, etc). If you are a med-surg nurse, then finding work with even two years of experience may be a challenge.
I hope this info helps.