By February 22, 2012 0 Comments

Ask a Travel Nurse: Can I Get a Travel Nurse Assignment Right After Graduation?


Ask a Travel Nurse Question:

I am currently a LPN at a post acute rehabilitation center, I’ve worked this field for 3 years and it is my only job experience as a nurse. I will be graduating in May with my RN, and am wondering what my chances are of getting a travel nursing job right away. I always wanted to do travel nursing and looked into when I got my LPN, but there wasn’t any jobs at that time.

Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:

I’m sorry to break the bad news to you, but I know of no company that will hire a new grad for a travel position. Additionally, if you ever find one, PLEASE do not accept an assignment until you have at least a year of experience as a nurse.

I have written many times on this topic and your first year of nursing experience is critical in developing your practice as a nurse. You need to be a proficient practitioner to travel as a nurse. Skipping this experience will only put your license at risk.

Yes, you have experience as an LPN. But the roles and responsibilities you will have as a nurse are different. One year used to be the minimum amount required, but in 2009 when the market took a drastic dip, hospitals started looking for only the most experienced travelers and two years experience became the norm for many travel companies. I do not know what the market will look like after you have a year of experience and you may very well be able to travel after one year. But the first year is the time to develop a comfort level in your practice and become proficient in things like IV, NG, and Foley insertions, dressing changes, prioritization and critical thing skills, and a bevy of other skills that you will use on a consistent basis as a traveler.

Take a year to specialize in the area in which you wish to travel (OB, peds, critical care) and gain a comfort level in your role as a nurse. Travel nursing will be here when you are ready. Don’t risk a bad experience by trying to rush the process.

Hope this helps.


First time bonus!

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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