Some of our aspiring travel nurses have one very simple question: What do hospitals look for in a travel nurse?
And we have a simple answer:
- Hospitals will of course want nurses that are up to date on all their credentialing and licensing (think BLS, ACLS)
- Hospitals seek nurses that have at least 2 recent years’ experience in their specialty.
The key word in number two above 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. For example, an L&D nurse who makes the switch to NICU, but later decides L&D is where it’s at.
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 practiced in that specialty for a few years.
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. In addition – it’s a whole different ball game – the field of nursing – from going from your clinicals to working on the floor. There is simply a lot more to learn along the way.
Traveling specifically 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 years, before you start off on your travel adventures.
If you’re interested in working with a travel nurse agency that will always give you the full picture, reach out to us today!