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By September 27, 2013 0 Comments

Ask a Travel Nurse: Should all my experience be in one specialty for travel nursing?


Question ManAsk a Travel Nurse Question:  

I know it’s recommended for an aspiring travel nurse to accumulate two years of hospital experience in order to travel. Should those two years be in the same specialty or is it possible, for example, to have one year of med/surg/tele experience and then a year of ED experience or something else to make up the total of two years? I currently have one year of med/surg/tele experience.

Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:  

The answer to your question really depends on the facilities to which you will be applying for a travel position.

Certainly the more experience you have being a nurse, the further it will get you. However, if a hospital is looking at staffing the ED and has one nurse with a year of tele and a year of ER, verses a nurse with two years strictly in the ER, then to whom do you think the position might go?

So if you know the specialty in which you wish to travel, focus on gaining experience in that discipline. However, if you want to try to accept positions in one of two specialties, it is sometimes possible with staggered experience.

For example, I worked registry this summer with most of my time spent in the ICU. However, I also did some ER. While I do not technically have a year of experience in the ER, I might be able to accept an ER assignment should the manager feel I have a strong enough background to function well in their ER. But obviously, some specialties lend well to others. Working ER as an ICU nurse is within the same general practice, but working L&D as a tele nurse might not be the easiest crossover.

ANY experience in hospital based nursing will be considered when they review your file, but obviously, those with dedicated experience in the specialty in which they are applying might have an edge.

I hope this helps answer your question.


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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