Do I have enough nursing experience to travel?

Ask a Travel Nurse, Career Advice, Travel Nursing

nursing experience to travelAsk a Travel Nurse Question:

I love your site. Thanks for your time reading this. I think your knowledge will help my family immensely.

I’m a future spouse of a travel nurse in training. She is in school with 2 semesters left to get her RN and today she just got her LVN. The LVN was to get extra practice and hopefully get experience enough to travel in about 1 year from now. Do you think that 1 year experience as an L&D LVN will be enough to travel as soon as she gets her RN (may 2013)? She’s a 3.8+ gpa student if that matters.

Also, do you have any pointers for us as future travelers and her still being a student?

Thanks again for your time!

Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:

As far as experience goes, travel positions are like any other nursing position; the more experience you have, the better your employment opportunities will be.

Most travel nursing agencies require two years as the norm for experience required to travel. This is in part due to their own requirements but mostly it’s due to the facilities requirements. With that said, it’s hard to say where the market will be a year from now, but I would say that a year of experience in the role of an RN would be the bare minimum to travel. If you’ve already been working in a travel LVN position with an agency, that could help your cause. Likewise if you’re looking to take a travel nursing position as an RN at a facility you’ve already worked at you might find it easier to get in without 2 years of experience.

I have written on this topic many times before and I tell nurses that even if they found a company that would allow them to travel before that time, they should resist the urge to do so. The first year is the time when nurses shape the way they will perform in their profession. This is not something that should be done in the chaos of being on the road, switching from hospital to hospital.

Travel nurses are expected to hit the ground running and need a solid foundation of nursing skills upon which they can rely. Kat should concentrate on the skills that will make her a strong nurse on the road. L&D probably has a different skill set than that of a med-surg or tele nurse, but she should be proficient in things like Foley and IV starts. She might not encounter many NG tubes, but anything that is a normal skill for L&D nurses should be something in which she is proficient.

As far as what her options will be, at the time Kat has a year of experience, will be dependent upon what the agencies ( and ultimately the hospitals) will want to see in the way of experience.

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