By Melissa Wirkus, associate editor
In today’s competitive job market, even nurses need to be on top of their game, professionally speaking. Travel nursing is a great career path for nurses looking to gain valuable clinical experience and can help take a career to the next level.
While gaining experience at some of the nation’s most prestigious facilities, travel nurses have the opportunity to enhance their career while exploring the country—all at the same time.
Gaining Clinical Experience
Working as a travel nurse shows future employers and nurse managers that an RN can adapt quickly to a new situation, and has the adequate experience to be comfortable in a diverse range of practice settings.
Most travel nurse assignments require at least one or two years of experience in the specialty they are applying for, but once a travel nurse has their foot in the door, they only gain more experience from there.
Heather Murray, a recruitment manager with leading nurse staffing company, American Mobile Healthcare, said that travel nursing experience helps to enhance a résumé and may give a nurse the edge they need when applying for a new position.
“Having travel experience today is key,” Murray explained. “When a nurse manager reviews a resume for a travel position, that is almost always one of the first things they look for. A nurse who has traveled before, in a nurse manager's mind, goes hand-in-hand with all the key characteristics they look for in a traveler: flexibility, versatility and the ability to adapt quickly to new environments.”
New Skills and Techniques
Travel nursing is one of the only ways that nurses have the opportunity to see how different units and facilities operate. Every hospital and clinic has different ways of doing everyday nursing tasks, and traveling gives nurses the opportunities to learn new skills and techniques at each facility they visit.
Johnathan Clevinger, RN, said that his favorite part of being a travel nurse with American Mobile is experiencing the exchange of knowledge between nurses of different regions.
“Nursing practice and nursing culture differs from region to region and facility to facility. This really facilitates learning and growing as a nurse and an individual,” Clevinger said. “You then take your new knowledge to the next assignment and pass on the best of what you know with the next group of nurses you work with. It's a wonderful exchange of information for both yourself and the nurses/physicians you have and will work with.”
Experiencing Different Specialties
Traveling also gives nurses the chance to experience different specialties. Often times, travelers have the opportunity to float to different units during their assignments—further enhancing their clinical specialty scope.
Many travelers decide to pursue an advanced degree, get a certification or branch out into a different specialty after completing a travel assignment because it opens their eyes to new opportunities within the field of nursing they may never have considered before.
Personal Growth and Life Experience
Above all, travel nursing gives nurses the chance to live life to the fullest. Each assignment means new opportunities and new experiences. Travelers must be flexible, prepared and ready for anything—and there is no better career experience out there than the experience that comes with being introduced to a new unit every few months.
“Travel nursing is an excellent way for nurses to enhance their careers,” Murray concluded. “As a traveler, there are numerous possibilities to expand your skills, because every hospital and every assignment is going to be a little bit different.”
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