Ask a Travel Nurse Question:
I am an LPN of 17 years and am now going back for my RN. Will I still have to work 2 years prior to being able to take an assignment to travel? Are there any specific fields that are needed more than any others in travel nursing?
Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:
I do not know how the market will look when you are out of school. If the nursing shortage pans out to be like the experts believe, I’m sure the increased demand for nurses will drive the qualification back toward 1 year. But again, I have no idea how the industry will look at the time when you graduate. It’s possible that you’ll be able to get a travel RN contract immediately after you transition to an RN. With that said, most travel nursing agencies will still require some experience (at least 1 year, more likely 2 years) as an RN before taking you on as a traveler. You might find more luck getting a travel RN contract sooner if you’ve had a travel LPN job with an agency before hand. By having that relationship established you’re more likely to get your foot in the door. If the facility has worked with you as an LPN or if your agency has worked with you as a traveler, they’ll be more willing to go to bat for you to get that early travel RN contract.
The best advice I can give you is to find the specialty that you enjoy. Most mainstream specialties should still be in demand when you are ready to travel. Certainly any high acuity areas like ICU/CCU/CVICU should be in demand , but areas like med-surg/tele and even OB or L&D should work well for you. The further you go outside the common specialties in nursing, the fewer postings you might find. However, there is always a need somewhere. After being contacted by a nurse working corrections, I was surprised to find that there are specific websites that cater to travel nurses specializing in corrections. So even if you choose the most obscure specialty, you might very well find a need for travel nurses in that specialty.
Get a well rounded education and try to stick with a common specialty for your best success. In year one after you graduate, perfect your skills in things like IV starts, blood draws, and foley and NG insertions. After a year, call a few companies and see what the hospitals are considering as far as experience goes.