By January 28, 2011 1 Comments

Ask a Travel Nurse: Are some hospitals better for pre-travel nurse experience?


hand choosing red appleAsk a Travel Nurse Question:

I was wondering if there are any specific hospitals around the United States that are considered better than others to get your first-year pre-travel nurse experience. I have heard that if you work at Cleveland Clinic for a year your chances of getting hired on with a travel company are much better. Is there any truth to this? Thanks so much for your time!

Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:

The short answer to your question is no, there’s probably not much truth to that.

You could argue that seeing Cleveland Clinic on a resume would certainly be better than seeing Mary’s Hospital in Countryland USA, but then again, you need to consider experience, not location when looking at hiring a travel nurse.

These hospitals want someone who has vast experience in a given setting and someone they know can hit the ground running. If you were a manager and you could have a traveler that worked at Cleveland Clinic for one year in the MICU only, or a traveler from Mary’s Hospital that worked there one year mainly in their ICU, but also cross-trained in tele, med-surg and ER, who would you choose? Even if you were inclined to go with the Cleveland Clinic name, what if that traveler had worked with mostly vents and surgical patients whereas the Mary’s Hospital RN had experience with vents, swans, and balloon pumps?

Sure, all things being equal, a name like Cleveland Clinic would hold more clout. But how often are all things equal? Plus, nursing is nursing is nursing. What this means is that once I have been certified to take balloon pump patients, does it matter whether it was at Cleveland Clinic versus any other location? When you apply for a travel position, you should be highlighting (but not exaggerating) your experience in your specialty. With most managers I know, experience is the key, not the facility in which you gained that experience.

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About the Author:

Hello everyone. I’m a travel nurse originally from Ohio who graduated in 1993 from Mount Carmel School of Nursing in Columbus. I completed a critical care fellowship at Riverside Methodist Hospital in 1994 and started traveling in that specialty a year later. My first travel assignment was in Maui and since that time I have completed close to 40 different contracts in various states with multiple travel companies. I am the author of Travel Nurse’s Bible (A Guide to Everything on Travel Nursing), in addition to my writings here and in the pages of Travel Nursing publications such as Healthcare Traveler Magazine and American Nurse Today. I am presently on assignment in Phoenix, AZ and travel anywhere from six to eleven months of the year.

1 Comment on "Ask a Travel Nurse: Are some hospitals better for pre-travel nurse experience?"

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  1. Carl says:

    I really believe the key to being a successful nurse comes down to flexibility (can you work any unit) and your ability to go with the flow – even when things are not ideal.

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