Top 5 Specialties for Travel Nurses
By Melissa Wirkus, associate editor
Although travel nursing provides career options for nurses across all specialty scopes, there are some specialties that have more opportunities than others. Geographic location, patient demographics, a nurse’s experience and the type of clinical setting all play a role in what type of travel nurse opportunities are available at any given time, and the following specialties have seen tremendous growth recently in the travel nurse industry.
1. ICU – A nurse with extensive experience in the intensive and critical care units will find plenty of travel nursing opportunities nationwide. Hospitals often times use ICU nurses to float to other units because of their broad skill set, making them a valuable asset to the staff nursing teams they are sent in to assist. California, Texas and Ohio are excellent places for ICU travel nurses to find there next job, with a surplus of opportunities available at some of the nations’ top hospitals and medical centers.
2. OR – Perioperative nurses will find their skill set is extremely valuable as a travel nurse. Whether you want to work in a major teaching hospital or smaller, ambulatory surgery center, OR nurses are in high demand for travel positions. Nurses who hold specific OR certifications or have wide-ranging experience with specific patient populations and types of surgery can further expand their skill set and clinical knowledge with a travel nursing assignment in the operating room setting.
3. Computer Conversion Nursing (Electronic Health and Medical Records) – As hospitals throughout the country continue to implement Electronic Health Records and Electronic Medical Records (EHR/EMR), nurses with experience in computerized charting will find a plethora of travel opportunities available to them. Facilities moving from paper to electronic records need travel nurses on hand to help with patient care while staff nurses are learning the new system, and to also help on the conversion project itself. Nurses who have experience in multiple specialties and with various computer charting systems will find they can travel throughout the country helping facilities implement their EHR/EMR programs.
4. L&D – Summer is traditionally a busy time for labor and delivery units, and this year is no exception. Nurses specializing in general L&D, and other sub-specialties such as women’s health and obstetrics, postpartum and antepartum care will have many choices when choosing their next travel nursing assignment as many healthcare facilities are experiencing an influx of maternity patients.
5. PICU/NICU – Nurses specializing in pediatric and neonatal intensive care possess a unique and highly specialized skill set that is coveted by children’s’ hospitals and other facilities with large pediatric patient populations. PICU and NICU travel nurses have the opportunity to work with some of the latest technology at the best facilities in the nation, and will find plenty of job opportunities in places including Northern and Southern California, Texas, New York and New Jersey.
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