What do hospitals look for in a travel nurse?
Some of our aspiring travel nurses have one very simple question: What do hospitals look for in a travel nurse? Here are some travel nursing tips for getting started as a travel nurse:
Our travel nursing tips are as follows – but first – let’s state the obvious:
- Hospitals will of course want nurses that are up to date on all their credentialing and licensing (think BLS, ACLS)
- Hospitals seek registered nurses to fill RN roles, and Allied professionals to fill Allied roles.
Travel Nursing Tips#1: Recent Experience
The keyword here is “recent”. Many nurses will work a certain specialty for years, switch specialties, and then decide it’s time to go back to where they started. Or they may have taken the last few years off – and are now seeking to get back into nursing.
Let’s take for example, an L&D nurse that made the switch to NICU for the past couple of years, but later decided L&D is where it’s at.
In order to travel as an L&D nurse – s/he will need to go back to L&D for a little bit – before they’ll be able to qualify for an L&D contract. Every situation, however, is unique, so be sure to speak to your recruiter about what you’re looking for.
Applying for travel roles, without recent experience will put you at a disadvantage as a hospital will always choose a nurse who has been in their specialty for the last 2 years over one who hasn’t recently practiced in that specialty.
Travel Nursing Tip #2: Two Years Experience
In order to qualify for any travel nursing job, you’ll need at least 2-years of registered nursing experience.
“But I’ve been an LPN/LVN for over twenty years, and just recently became an RN!” If you have been in the nursing profession for a long time, but have been an RN for less than 2-years, speak to your recruiter about your needs. Your nursing experience can sometimes meet the needs of the facility – but these are taken on a case by case basis.
You may even ask: why don’t travel nurse agencies accept new grads? Isn’t that what they went to school for, to practice nursing? Yes – we understand – this is a totally reasonable question.
The reason hospitals require at least 2 years recent experience is because they’re not looking to hire nurses they need to train and seek nurses that can hit the ground running. Travel nursing can offer its own set of challenges such as new processes and procedures that don’t exist at other hospitals, different EMR systems, etc.
It is a much better idea – if you seek to become a travel nurse – to practice and master your specialty for a couple of years, before you start off on your travel adventures.
Next Move Inc
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