One of the areas of nursing, where there is often a demand for travelers is intensive care nursing. Intensive care nurses work in units, such as the medical, surgical ICU, neurological intensive care, trauma unit and pediatric intensive care unit. Although there can be competition for some travel positions, there are ways you can make yourself more marketable as an intensive care nurse.
Obtain Varied Experience
Critical care nurses who have varied experience will most likely be the most in demand. Try to get as much experience as possible. If you can cross train to work in different units, take advantage of it. For instance, if you are working in the medical ICU and you have the opportunity to train in the surgical intensive care unit, it may allow you to learn new skills.
In addition to working in different units, try to obtain as many critical care skills as possible. Try to gain experience with all types of equipment used in the intensive care unit. For example, learn as much as you can about advanced life support equipment including mechanical ventilators and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation units. If possible, get experience and become comfortable using equipment, such as cardiac monitoring and hemodynamic monitoring systems.
There are a few different ways to get as much experience as possible in critical care. Ask your supervisor if you can be cross trained in different areas and with different procedures and equipment. Attend lectures and in-services whenever you can. All nurses need to complete continuing education in order to renew their license. Complete critical care continuing education classes on topics mentioned above.
If you want to be more marketable as an intensive care nurse, consider obtaining a certification. There are several certifications for nurses who plan on working in the ICU or who already have experience. For example, The American Association of Critical Care Nurses (ACCN) offers a certification for adult critical care nursing. The AACN also offers additional nursing certifications for pediatric critical care, cardiac medicine and cardiac surgery. Although certification may not be mandatory in order to land your dream travel job as an ICU nurse, it can give you an advantage.
If you are looking for a RN travel position in an intensive care unit, it is helpful to be flexible. Being flexible may mean accepting an assignment even if it is not your ideal location. It may also mean being willing to float to different units as staffing needs arise. Keep in mind, being flexible does not mean compromising on things which are a must. For instance, if you cannot stand the thought of working nights, don’t agree to it. You’ll end up having a hard time, and it may make your travel experience difficult.
If you’re looking to land a travel job as an intensive care nurse, you are probably in luck. ICU nursing is one of the areas of nursing, which will most likely always be in demand.