Can I switch specialties while Travel Nursing?

Ask a Travel Nurse

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Ask a Travel Nurse: Can I switch specialties while Travel Nursing?

Ask a Travel Nurse Question:

I have been an ICU nurse at a small hospital for almost four years now and I’m very interested in Travel Nursing. If I were to travel, would I only be able to take ICU positions? Or could I possibly get OR, PACU, Psych, or Cath lab job with no previous experience in those areas?

Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:

If you wish to work in any other areas while traveling I always encourage people to get that experience before they hit the road.

This is due to the fact that there will be little to no opportunities to cross-train while you are traveling.

However, you are in a specialty that does allow a little bit of wiggle room. I would say that you could possibly take an assignment in an area like PACU, since the skills are essentially the same. You would also likely be very able to take an assignment in a lesser acuity area such as telemetry or med-surg. Travel Psych RN positions may have additional requirements that would make it more difficult to switch.

In doing so, you would want to make sure that the facility is well aware of your background during the interview process.

Now for areas that are specialized like OR or the Cath lab, I’m afraid you would have to have experience before embarking on a career in travel. Those are areas that require a separate set of skills that you just do not come by in the ICU.

I once toyed with the notion of going to the Cath lab as a full time staff nurse and could not even find a position that did not already require experience.

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