By September 9, 2009 0 Comments

Ask a Travel Nurse: Can I be a travel nurse as a nursing manager?


I had a question from a reader that is a director of an emergency room and wondered if there would be any travel positions for him in this capacity. I wanted to blog on this because from time to time I do hear from people with specialized positions that wish to travel. In reply to his particular question, I probably did not give him the answer he wanted.

Travel nursing is often a temporary position with most assignments lasting only thirteen weeks in duration. Many times there is the opportunity to extend or even take another thirteen week contract, but again, this is often a temporary fix for the facility.

Now I have seen some travel postings for positions as a charge nurse or even a nursing supervisor, but these are not the norm and to expect to travel extensively in such a position is not realistic. Most travel positions are for nurses at the bedside.

Once you get into a position like the aforementioned Director of ER, you are typically looking at a position that will be filled internally. Travelers are usually foreign workers to a facility. That is to say that the facility often has no idea what type of employee you will be. You might have a great work record and great experience, but as a traveler, you are often hired after a simple telephone interview and a few credentials on a piece of paper. For such an important position as the one we mentioned, I cannot see a hospital wanting to invest in someone without a face-to-face interview, and , someone who might only be there for a thirteen week duration. Can you imagine how chaotic your unit would be if you had a new manager every thirteen weeks?

Again, these positions are not impossible to come by, but they do take an effort to track them down. If you wished to try to travel exclusively in any position away from the bedside, make sure you are signed up with quite a few travel companies that will enable you to have many options when it comes time for a new assignment.

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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