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By July 22, 2009 0 Comments

Ask a Travel Nurse: How can I find a travel nursing job in this economy?


Last week I posted regarding first-time travelers. This week I wanted to follow up and address those of you who have travel experience, but are still having a hard time finding an assignment in this economy.
As most of you know, you must have a year’s worth of experience in the field in which you wish to travel. However, there are a few specialties that might allow you to work in other areas without necessarily having direct experience in that area.
The first specialty that would allow this is critical care. In most hospital settings, nursing supervisors have no problem floating an ICU RN to a tele or med-surg floor. They figure that if a nurse can take care of two critically ill patients, why couldn’t they care for four or five less acute patients?

While usually not an ideal assignment for a critical care nurse, if you want to get to a certain location and there are no critical care assignments, you might ask your recruiter to look for and submit you for step-down or tele positions; just be sure to tell your recruiter to let the facility know up front. But, I don’t imagine many tele or step-down managers would mind having an ICU nurse fill a position on their unit.
The next specialty just follows down that line. A tele nurse might not like working med-surg, but certainly should be able to deliver care competently in that environment. If you are having trouble finding assignments as a tele nurse, ask your recruiter to exp and their search to include med-surg assignments.
Another thing that you should already have done if you are scrambling for an assignment is to join another agency (actually, join three, four, or five). Right now while assignment listings are in short supply, you want to utilize every resource you can in finding a travel contract.

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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  1. Becky


    Great tips! Another excellent online resource you should check out for travel nurse advice is the Cirrus Medical LinkedIn Group (name: The Traveling Nurse). The Traveling Nurse posts a variety of job opportunities in tons of U.S. cities and provides members with information on the most recent trends in the nursing field. Join today at

  2. Erica says:

    Thanks for all the advice! This is a huge help. I’ve also found a lot of great help at It’s a staffing company, and their website offers a lof of helpful suggestions and resources.

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