You’ve just graduated, which means you are total rock star. Congrats! But if you’re interested in a Travel Nursing career, you will need to establish 1-2 years of recent hospital experience prior to your first contract.
Experience is required because Travel Nurses often receive very brief, hospital-specific orientations and you are expected to be well-skilled and hit the ground running.
For your benefit, as well as that of the hospital and patients, you want to have the right degree of experience when you begin your career as a Travel Nurse. You definitely don’t want to jump the gun and potentially put your license and your patient outcomes in jeopardy. I know you are so excited to get started, but you should be wary of an agency that tries to send you out on assignment before you have the right amount of experience. The standard used to be one year, but now most experts recommend closer to two.
So, you are probably working on getting a job, in order to attain this experience, but beyond that, what can you do in the meantime to prepare for a career in Travel Nursing? Here are some tips on preparing for Travel Nursing for New Graduates:
Do Your Homework
Use this time to research the Travel Nursing industry. Learn all of the ins and outs, and then when you have the right level of experience, you will be locked and loaded for hitting the road!
- Search terms here on Travel Nursing Blogs to find past blogs on travel-related topics you are wondering about. Although we have covered nearly everything, our resident Ask a Travel Nurse expert, David Morrison RN, is an excellent resource if you have any questions you can’t find answers to.
- Gypsy Nurse and Blue Pipes Blog are a couple of other excellent Travel Nurse-related blogs. Also, you should consider joining a forum like Healthcare Travelbook or searching Facebook for relevant groups related to the industry.
- Now is also a good time for you to start looking for a recruiter who is a great fit for you at a company that offers the benefits that align with your needs. Start with Travel Nursing Central and/or Highway Hypodermics’ respective annual rankings of Travel Nurse Agencies. From there, check out a few websites to see what some of the top-ranked agencies offer, comparing their benefits/bonuses/etc. to your needs, and start making phone calls. The right recruiter/company is hugely important to your success and even if you don’t have the experience to travel yet, it is never too early to establish a relationship with them and get in their pipeline.
Consider Your Specialty
There is a higher demand for certain specialties in Travel Nursing, so if you are set on traveling it’s a good idea to consider that when choosing yours. Of course, there is a need for all specialties and ultimately you should follow your gut when choosing. It’s just that some may make you more marketable as a traveler than others.
Some highly sought specialties include:
- Labor & Delivery
Build Yourself Up Professionally
- When you start working, work hard and do your best to satisfy all of your curiosity at every turn. If you are unsure about something, always ask. This is how you gain knowledge and become a stronger nurse! Learning and mastering EMR systems is also a distinct advantage for a prospective Traveler to have.
- You should also work to gain the appropriate certifications for your specialty, which will, again, only serve to make you more marketable and educated. You can usually earn them as you work through your employer.
- Put together your resume now. You can continue to add to it, but get the basics of it and formatting down now. As you encounter people in your work, keep in mind who might make good references for you in the future.
Please share in the comments if you have any more tips or information on Travel Nursing for new graduates.