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By July 25, 2014 0 Comments

Ask a Travel Nurse: Can I switch specialties while Travel Nursing?

Travel Nurse with a question

Ask a Travel Nurse: Can I switch specialties while Travel Nursing?

Ask a Travel Nurse Question:

I have been an ICU nurse at a small hospital for almost four years now and I’m very interested in Travel Nursing. If I were to travel, would I only be able to take ICU positions? Or could I possibly get OR, PACU, or Cath lab job with no previous experience in those areas?

Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:

If you wish to work in any other areas while traveling I always encourage people to get that experience before they hit the road.

This is due to the fact that there will be little to no opportunities to cross-train while you are traveling.

However, you are in a specialty that does allow a little bit of wiggle room. I would say that you could possibly take an assignment in an area like PACU, since the skills are essentially the same. You would also likely be very able to take an assignment in a lesser acuity area such as telemetry or med-surg.

In doing so, you would want to make sure that the facility is well aware of your background during the interview process.

Now for areas that are specialized like OR or the Cath lab, I’m afraid you would have to have experience before embarking on a career in travel. Those are areas that require a separate set of skills that you just do not come by in the ICU.

I once toyed with the notion of going to the Cath lab as a full time staff nurse and could not even find a position that did not already require experience.

While I know that this may not be the answer you were hoping for, I hope it helps!


Posted in: Ask a Travel Nurse

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.

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