So you’re thinking about travel nursing but unsure if you’re experienced enough. While experience is a major plus in travel nursing, there is no magic number of years working that make it the right time to begin. You’ll want to look at a mixture of factors when deciding when the time will be right for you.
Experience: This amounts simply to duration of nursing experience – how many years you have been working. Generally, 1-2 years on the job is a good starting point. The more day-to-day experience you have under your belt, the better you’ll be able to handle the demands of quickly learning the ropes in a new hospital and being able to effectively jump right in. There will always be new systems and protocol to learn everywhere you go, for which you may receive 1-2 days of orientation. Beyond that though, you are often on your own and so you want to begin with a very solid foundation of skills.
Area of Expertise: The other element is the type of experience you have. For example, experience in a fast-paced environment may serve you better simply because of the similarly fast-paced nature of travel nursing. In general, the more varieties of clinical experience you have, the better for your travel nursing career.
Personal Considerations: Are you the independent type? Do you thrive under pressure? Is flexibility your strong suit? If you answered “yes” to these questions, you possess a personality well-equipped for travel nursing.
Remember that your career has a long trajectory, and it is up to you to chart the course that’s right for you. Perhaps you’d like to get a little more experience under your belt before embarking on a travel nursing contract. If that’s your instinct, then the extra time can only strengthen your résumé and ultimately leave you better prepared when you are ready to travel. If you feel prepared now, congrats, you are ready to launch yourself into an exciting and lucrative new world!