The appeal of travel nursing is not difficult to understand — you get compensated for doing something you’re passionate about while working where you want. You get to discover new places and gain fresh personal and professional experiences. Travel nurses are in high demand, and the job comes with good job security, great benefits, a high salary, and the freedom to pick from a variety of options.
While all of this may sound appealing, there’s more to the life of a travel nurse. You need to do a lot of preparation before deciding what type of travel nurse you want to be and what types of assignments you want to take. Each type of travel nurse requires a specific skill set that you must develop.
In this article, we’ll look at what you need to understand before becoming a travel nurse and go over the 5 types of travel nurses that are most in-demand right now.
The most in-demand types of travel nurse in 2023
There are a few things to keep in mind if you want to become a travel nurse. First, you need at least one year of specializing in your respective field before you start traveling. Most staffing agencies want to see that you have previous experience and check if your skills match with the requirements of the job.
You’ll be required to have either an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), and you’ll need to pass the NCLEX-RN exam to become licensed.
Prepare to be away from your friends and family for most of the year. Homesickness often comes with the job. Leaving behind familiar things and the feeling of being “at home” can be very challenging, especially at first. You might need some time to get into your rhythm.
Most travel nurses do not receive proper guidance, and orientation is often very basic. The tasks you undertake are mostly time-sensitive and hospitals are usually understaffed. And each assignment will be different, even if you’re doing the same type of job. The culture and structure of one hospital varies from another.
With limited resources and time, the challenges may seem bigger than they really are. Travel nurses must adjust to difficult mobile work quickly and effectively. That might be thrilling and terrifying at the same time. Whichever prevails in your situation is up to you to determine.
1. ICU Travel Nurses
Probably the most in-demand specialty for travel nurses is ICU nursing. Patients with a complicated history or who are in serious condition are cared for by ICU nurses. These include patients who are ventilated, intubated, receiving life-saving medicine drips or are in need of critical care. If they’ve been admitted due to complications from COVID-19, they will need portable chest X-rays.
To make it in the ICU, you need a certain set of abilities. You need to be able to manage unforeseen circumstances, respond promptly to emergencies, and maintain rigorous organization.
One year of experience is required in any type of acute care. Before you pursue a job in the intensive care unit, you need certifications in Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS). But a certification in Critical Care will help you surpass your competition. Being an ICU travel nurse is a difficult job, but it’s a high-paying option.
2. Dialysis Travel Nurse
Patients with chronic renal disease receive life-saving care from dialysis travel nurses. Pre- and post-treatment, a patient’s vital signs need to be monitored and recorded by a dialysis RN. They also need to watch out for any negative responses and make sure that dialysis and other therapies are provided properly.
In order to carry out these responsibilities with the utmost professionalism, you must be able to stay calm, remain compassionate, and have good observational and problem-solving skills.
A BSN or ADN is a basic educational requirement. In addition to at least a year of experience in a professional setting, ACLS certification is necessary. While it isn’t required, it’s in your best interest to become a Certified Dialysis Nurse (CDN).
3. ER Travel Nurse
In the U.S., acute care facilities continue to have a significant demand for skilled ER travel nurses. It’s a lucrative specialty that calls for an organized, quick-on-your-feet temperament. You should be able to make precise and prompt decisions.
As an ER travel nurse, you’ll work directly with patients as they enter the hospital’s emergency room, providing them with a range of medical care.
You may also be required to obtain BLS, ACLS, and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) certification in addition to having one year of experience in the emergency room to guarantee you can handle life in the ER. Different institutions may have different certification requirements.
4. Psychiatric Travel Nurse
A psychiatric nurse, or mental health nurse, aids in the treatment of patients with psychiatric and mental health conditions. Your duties and obligations are unaffected if you want to pursue a profession in travel in this area. Your job description still calls for you to assist in administering psychological evaluations, running tests, giving medicine, and working with other medical specialists to ensure that patients with psychological issues receive the best possible care.
5. Pediatric Travel Nurse
Children, teenagers, and young adults receive nursing care from pediatric travel nurses. Due to the sensitive nature of the population they serve, their responsibilities frequently extend beyond routine duties like administering medication and monitoring vitals. For example, young patients with chronic or life-threatening diseases may be experiencing scanxiety around their next scan.
These patients may need extra compassion, patience, and consideration, and it’s essential that you have the capacity to provide these things.
Working with kids can be difficult but rewarding. Children are frequently afraid and uncomfortable, so to care for them pediatric travel nurses need to be patient and kind. You must also be able to tackle challenging medical duties and work quickly and effectively under duress.
The life of a travel nurse can be fascinating and demanding. It offers the chance to experience new places and interact with new people. There are a variety of resources for support.
For dedicated RNs who are comfortable taking risks, the field of travel nursing opens a universe of opportunities. It’s a difficult job. There will always be challenges to overcome, and your shifts can be very stressful. However, advancing your nursing career while traveling can be very rewarding and worthwhile.
Written By: Zach Norton
Zach N. is the content specialist and writer for Medical Scrubs Collection. He has several years of experience in writing and content creation.