Travel Nursing Tips for New Grads

Travel Nursing Tips for New Grads

Photo courtesy of: Tobyotter (
Photo courtesy of: Tobyotter (

More and more new Grad nurses are showing an interest in Travel Nursing. Unfortunately, travel nursing isn’t something that you can obtain an ‘internship’ in and start right away. Find out how you can become a successful travel nurse by following these Travel Nursing Tips for New Grads.

Travel Nursing is a unique specialty in itself, and requires first that you understand and know how to work under your primary specialty.  Most generally, I suggest that a grad nurse first obtain a good, solid 2 years of experience before considering travel nursing.

A bit disappointed?  Don’t worry…There are things that you can do NOW as a new grad that will help you to a future successful career as a Travel Nurse.

Choose a Highly Sought after Specialty
Some of the most in demand specialties (currently) include the following.  I will note that EVERY specialty has some demand, so don’t stress about choosing one of the below.  High demand specialties do change, these are just some examples.

travel nurses who can aptly fill the niches of rising demand — particularly in specialty fields — will find themselves more marketable.

  • Labor and Delivery
  • Intensive Burn Care
  • Trauma
  • Emergency
  • Cardiovascular
  • Cath Lab
  • Neonatal
  • Stroke Care
  • Rehabilitation

Optimize your EMR Strengths/Knowledge
Electronic Medical Record Systems (EMR), are being instituted in more and more facilities across the nation.  If you have experience in multiple systems, it’s always a plus.  “Healthcare organizations have a choice of EMR/EHR companies and programs that are being implemented. Those who have been traveling and have had the opportunity to be oriented and use different programs, or have become quite proficient in a particular one to be considered a ‘super user,’ are in demand now. Informatics is the future.”  – Karen Flaster, RN, CEO HRN Services Inc.

As a new grad, becoming a super-user or expanding beyond the basic knowledge and day to day use can be a great asset and make you stand out among other travel nurses when the time comes.  Utilize the free training at your staff hospital and maximize this potential. 

Obtain Relevant Specialty Certifications
Obtaining specialty certifications that coincide with your field of practice is highly recommended.  Not only can you generally obtain these certifications through your full time place of employment, they will enhance your marketability once you begin seeking that first Travel Nurse position. 

American Heart Association Stroke Certification – Given the annual national statistics on Americans who suffer strokes and the number of hospitals that are becoming NIH certified, this certification is currently in high demand.

Gerontological Nurse (GNC) – AARP states that In 2011, the first of the baby boom generation reached what used to be known as retirement age. And for the next 18 years, boomers will be turning 65 at a rate of about 8,000 a day

ACLS – ACLS is nearly a requirement for the travel nurse, regardless of the specialty.  More and more hospitals and staffing agencies are requiring this certification prior to employment.

It goes without saying that if you work pediatrics you should obtain the relevant certifications associated with this unique field (PALS).  In addition, any other specialty certifications are always a plus, for example ECMO.

There are hundreds of nursing specialty certifications that you can explore.  Find out which certifications are appropriate for your specialty and seek certification.

A few other Travel Nursing Tips for New Grads would include:

New England Gypsy Nurse Summer Meet & Greet
Travel Nursing and Unique Cultural Traditions
Founder of I am a nurse entrepreneur TRAVEL and COFFEE ADDICT always seeking the next adventure.


  1. Great tips here Gypsy Nurse. I would add, be open minded about everything. Where you are initially trained can only teach you basics and every facility feels that their way is the best way. Learn to roll with it and just keep work on developing your core skills. It is those that will make you a great, highly desirable nurse. Continuing to learn and grow, invest in yourself because you are your best asset.

  2. Gypsy Nurse,
    I love this article. So much information (lots I did not know). But I always enjoy learning new things so that when I am out-and-about I can contribute to the nursing conversations. When I worked on my floor I contemplated travel nursing; I guess I never took the leap because I was in a relationship (and the man didn’t want to travel, LOL). I agree with your closing travel tips, especially the encouragement to do it because you enjoy it. Follow your energy and do that which you find fun, stimulating, and energizing.
    Have a healthy day!

  3. This is such a great article. Really great tips! I would also recommend that if you really do want to travel that you spend time researching travel agencies and recruiters. I wouldn’t wait until I have hit my two year experience before I begin talking with a recruiter. You can begin talking with agencies at the 1.5 yr mark, let them get to know you and learn which agencies and recruiters you could work with. This also lets you get ahead of the game with paperwork needed, building your profile, etc. Knowing what is expected and starting the process early can get you to that travel position that much quicker.