Your next assignment starts here. Search jobs now!
By June 20, 2016 1 Comments

Ask a Travel Nurse: Do travel companies help you learn new specialties?

Ask a Travel Nurse

Ask a Travel Nurse: Do travel companies help you learn new specialties?

Ask a Travel Nurse Question:

Hi David,

Thanks for sharing all this information — it’s a lot to take in! I am wondering how to become more specialized. I’m a pediatric RN med-surg wanting to do more traveling now that I am an empty nester. So, since ICU is a hot specialty, how can I get into PICU area? Do travel companies help you learn new specialties?

Thanks for responding!

Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:

While there can be some opportunities to float to other areas while on assignment (I’ve gathered quite a bit of ER experience as an ICU traveler), to do something like you are seeking, would likely require a hiatus from travel to work in a facility that was willing to train you in a specialized area.

I currently know of no travel company that offers training to allow floating to areas in which you were previously unqualified to work. Additionally, most companies ask for at least a year of experience in the specialty in which you wish to travel. Although I’m sure this is a m and ate from the facilities rather than the agencies.

In Travel Nursing, you are being brought in to work in a certain unit with staffing needs. No unit is going to bring in a Travel Nurse and then give that staff away to other units so that they may gain experience. While Travel Nurses are often the first to float, that is when your contracted unit has enough staffing (usually core staff) and may be able to charge your hours to another unit. Or, if you are contracted to the facility as a float, you will work in any unit for which you may be qualified; however, that would rarely include any unit that would be above your skill or training. To float on a regular basis, or attempt to take a travel position in these advanced areas, would require much more experience than you could likely gain on a single assignment.

You will also not find a facility that wants to devote the resources to training a nurse (in a specialized unit) when that nurse may only be with them for a period of three months.

While you could further your skills with advanced certs like ACLS or learning specialized training like CRRT, you still would not have the experience necessary to work in the units where you could utilize this training.

I’m sorry to say that I know of no way to become proficient in higher acuity areas other than to take a break from travel, hire on at a facility that will train you, and then resume your travels once you have enough experience.

If any reader knows of any way to accomplish this, please feel free to leave a comment.


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.

1 Comment on "Ask a Travel Nurse: Do travel companies help you learn new specialties?"

Trackback | Comments RSS Feed

  1. William says:

    Almost all travel nursing agencies provide staffing to their clients (the hospitals) and jobs to the nurses who apply, in their field. So it is very difficult, if not impossible, to find one which will train a nurse. A very well explained answer.

Post a Comment