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nurses have experience with similar units. Sometimes hospitals require experience

in hospitals with a similar number of licensed beds. Some hospitals require

previous experience within the hospital system in question. For example, the

Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) which is the largest private hospital

corporation the country, regularly requires that travel nursing candidates have

previous experience in an HCA facility. Hospitals may also require experience

with particular computer charting systems, specific patient populations, and/or

specific equipment and procedures.

Hospitals also regularly require various certifications. The certification

requirements tend to vary by specialty. As a travel nurse, it is highly

recommended that you have all certifications that may be required for your

specialty. Doing so maximizes the opportunities available to you. Some common

certifications that often prevented travel nurses that I worked with from landing

travel nursing assignments they desired included: ACLS for MedSurg and TELE,

PALS and TNCC for ER, AWHONN Advanced Fetal Heart Certification for

L&D, and PALS for PACU. While we’re on the subject, certain specialties tend to

be more highly sought than others for travel nurses. Below is a list of specialties

that are popular in travel nursing.


PICU, NICU, Case Management, SDU, PCU, CVOR, PostPartum, Mother Baby,

Home Health


In addition to experience, you must also consider if you have the desire to perform

in the capacity that travel nurses are often asked to perform. This manifests itself

on several levels. First, hospitals are seeking self starters. You’ll be walking in to

entirely new units that will most likely operate quite differently from the one

you’re used to and you’ll be doing so with a really limited orientation. Travel

nursing orientations tend to last 1 week, and much of them are spent with

paperwork and class room training. It’s very common for travel nurses to get 1

shift of orientation directly on the unit and sometimes less. In addition, there are

often delays in getting travel nurses the access they need for medications and/or

computer charting. This isn’t because the hospital is a horrible place, but rather

that they’re trying to “onboard” a new nurse in a third of the time that they usually

do. The point is that the travel nurse will have to roll with the punches in a

productive way in order to be successful.

Second, hospitals are looking for candidates who are open to new methods,

processes, and procedures. No two hospitals operate exactly the same way. There

are multiple ways of accomplishing many of the tasks at hand. Hospitals typically

have very good reasons for utilizing their processes and procedures and they’ve

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