A travel nurse is hired to work at a specific location for a limited amount of time, often 13 weeks in one area before moving to another. Since the demand is so high, and shortages occur in certain areas of the country, a traveling nurse may be used to fill the need. In order to have your pick of assignments, it’s helpful to have focused your education and experience in an area of high demand. While there are geographical areas in the country in high demand, such as Hawaii, there are also areas of medical expertise that hospitals have a greater need for, thus making you a greater asset.
Being a traveling nurse is much like getting paid to explore the country, and having education and experience in specific specialties gives you an advantage in making a choice in the geographical areas you’d like to travel. While there are certain specialties that continue to be in demand, facilities may have greater need during seasonal fluctuations, such as in the emergency room or ICU. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics envisions a rapid growth in the healthcare market through 2026, which means the nursing shortage is also expected to grow. The demand for traveling nurses will increase as a result.
Other factors affecting specialties that are in high demand for traveling nurses include an increasing number of aging population, a growing drug abuse epidemic and a rising number of those experiencing chronic illness. Although there are specific specialties in high demand, hospitals will continue to value nurses with great experience, or who hold specialty certifications. This demonstrates an ongoing effort to continually grow and improve, which is the kind of employee facilities want to hire. Non-specialized fields such as medical/surgical or adult medicine will often pay less. Specialties that are highly valued include:
Each of the specialties or subspecialties represent additional education and experience. Some are available only in large metropolitan areas, while smaller rural hospitals may place greater value on pediatric or mother-baby experience. Additionally, case managers and nurse managers are specialties hospitals may need.
While many hospitals are seeking nurses who already have experience and certification, as you travel, you may have the opportunity to expand your professional growth. In other words, if you are hired as a pediatric nurse in a travel position but have the opportunity to float to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, this is an opportunity to determine if these are skills you wish to acquire. If so, staying in a permanent position for a year at a local hospital, while gaining experience, may help improve your ability to land sought-after positions. Most agencies and facilities are looking for travel nurses who have had at least one year of experience in a specialty.
At Amare, we’ll help you choose where you want to live and discover how you may expand your professional experience to achieve your goal. Contact one of our professional recruiters today and we’ll get started finding your next job – together!