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As a new grad nurse with an MSN, would travel nursing be a good choice, and if so, would any assignment be good to choose from or would it be better to stick with what I’m familiar with?

March 28th, 2023

Maybe, maybe not. Here's my thoughts... I see 2 things first off. New grad & MSN. A big question for me, if I was looking at hiring would be, did you go through nursing school and immediately into the advanced degree, or did you work as a nurse while doing this. In other words, what Actual work experience, outside of school, do you really have? The degree will mean nothing without "real" clinical experience, as a nurse, rather than in the student setting. As a new grad, you need to get that real experience with a mentor in your first job. Especially if you want to work in any "specialty" areas. You are not going to get that as a travel nurse.

If you haven't worked in the RN role on a unit, you need someone to help you learn to plan your day and work in an efficient and organized manner, learn the hospital 'systems', be able to work within a team setting, etc. As a traveller, you are coming in, at a premium pay, to fill in a void on a particular unit. That being said, you will be expected to have more than a minimum amount of experience and be able to work your assignments pretty independently, within a unit team framework.

As a temporary 'replacement', your coworkers will not be impressed with the letters behind your name, they will be impressed if you can 'hit the ground running' after a brief orientation to the unit, routines, policies and expectations of you. On my particular unit, we never gave our travellers or registry nurses the 'tough' assignments patients that needed a much higher level of care than "normal" for our unit. Don't expect that everywhere though .. I've heard some stories ... yikes! Hopefully those are the exceptions! I would hate to think that fellow nurses would actually 'dump on' on another simply because they're not regular staff!

If you have some experience in a particular area, I would stick with that, especially in the beginning. Then once you've gotten more familiar with how it all works with your travel agency and the hospitals you're sent to, you can then decide if branching out to other areas might be right for you.

Before retiring, I worked mother-baby, as well as floating to L&D, NBN, NICU. We would get some travellers if local registry nurses weren't available .. especially during 2020-2021. Maybe some still, but I retired late 2021, and several were being hired as full-time staff. We had some fabulous travellers that we wanted to stay with us! I would actually say we enjoyed the majority of the ones we had, but then my boss was 'selective' about what their work experience was coming into our unit. New grad travellers did not make the 'cut'. We simply did not have the time or staff to do that level of training for someone who is supposed to be 'temp replacement' staff for a short amount of time. We also had a couple who we cut their time 'short'. Basically, if we, as staff, need to spend a good amount of our already limited time, mentoring and teaching you how to do what a basic experienced nurse should already know, we aren't going to be keeping you long. Orienting to the unit and specifics of the hospital and it's procedures, sure. Holding your hand the entire time you're there, not so much.

Sorry this was so lengthy, but I didn't want to 'sugar-coat' things and have you drowing on a unit due to potentially unrealistic expectations. It could be a very rewarding and enjoyable experience while seeing other parts of the country, as long as you go in with your eyes open, know your limitations and strengths, what will be expected of you and have a positive attitude. Ultimately, only you can make the decision if this may or may not be right for you. If you do decide to go for it, Enjoy the experience! I wish you the best!

March 1st, 2023

Travel nursing is a good area and it pays well. You can work in a different location and keep up your home location at the same time. Nursing assignments usually are between 8-12 weeks at a time. As far as what area to apply for, it's your preference.