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By April 22, 2013 2 Comments

Are You Experienced Enough to Start Travel Nursing?


So you’re thinking about travel nursing but unsure if you’re experienced enough. While experience is a major plus in travel nursing, there is no magic number of years working that make it the right time to begin. You’ll want to look at a mixture of factors when deciding when the time will be right for you.  Travel Nurse Experience

Experience: This amounts simply to duration of nursing experience – how many years you have been working. Generally, 1-2 years on the job is a good starting point. The more day-to-day experience you have under your belt, the better you’ll be able to h and le the dem and s of quickly learning the ropes in a new hospital and being able to effectively jump right in. There will always be new systems and protocol to learn everywhere you go, for which you may receive 1-2 days of orientation. Beyond that though, you are often on your own and so you want to begin with a very solid foundation of skills.

Area of Expertise: The other element is the type of experience you have. For example, experience in a fast-paced environment may serve you better simply because of the similarly fast-paced nature of travel nursing. In general, the more varieties of clinical experience you have, the better for your travel nursing career.

Personal Considerations: Are you the independent type? Do you thrive under pressure? Is flexibility your strong suit? If you answered “yes” to these questions, you possess a personality well-equipped for travel nursing.

Remember that your career has a long trajectory, and it is up to you to chart the course that’s right for you. Perhaps you’d like to get a little more experience under your belt before embarking on a travel nursing contract. If that’s your instinct, then the extra time can only strengthen your résumé and ultimately leave you better prepared when you are ready to travel. If you feel prepared now, congrats, you are ready to launch yourself into an exciting and lucrative new world!

About the Author:

Hi, I'm Sarah Wengert, a creative content writer for the amazing Medical Solutions based in Omaha, Nebraska. While I'm not a travel nurse, I love to travel and I truly appreciate the hard, important work that nurses do. I'm very happy to represent a company that cares so much about its people. Thanks for reading!

2 Comments on "Are You Experienced Enough to Start Travel Nursing?"

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  1. Heidi


    Sarah, I have to correct you as I am finding that travel companies are misleading to nurses with minimal experience as well as myself with 17 years of experience.
    I have worked in Med/Surg for 1-1/2 years, SICU, MICU, CVICU, CCU and Trauma ICU for 5 years. I worked in the PACU for 2 years and the cath lab and radiology for five years.
    I was laid off from my last cath lab position due to low censes and budget cuts in 2006. Hospitals were not hiring at the time here in NY and nurses were being laid off, although I continued to apply.
    I started working in private duty and home care until SOMETHING would open up. In 2009, I started applying for travel positions here and there. I got more aggressive in 2010 and was consistently told I didn’t have enough experience. I questioned the different companies and was asking “what do you mean, not enough experience?” as it was all over my resume.
    The key words are “RECENT EXPERIENCE”. I’ve had some companies get on the phone and the first thing they will ask or state is that they require one or two years of experience in the last three years.
    This is very misleading to job seekers, especially to a nurse like myself with 17 plus years of experience. I have completed numerous checklists and applications only to be told “your experience is out of date.”
    Please consider this when advertising and writing articles. There might be a great Med/Surg nurse out there with two years of experience but has been working in Occupational Health for the last four years. Just some food for thought.

  2. Sarah Wengert


    Hi Heidi, You are definitely correct. Recent experience is very key and that’s something that I have touched on in other articles but did not make explicit in this one. Thanks for the feedback!

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