How to Choose the Right Specialization: In-Demand Fields for Travel Nurses

Choosing the Right Specialization: In-Demand Fields for Travel Nurses
Written by Collins Nwokolo

Choosing the appropriate specialization is a vital decision for travel nurses, as it sets the stage for a gratifying and enriching career. By prioritizing sought-after fields, travel nurses can optimize their chances of securing desirable assignments and advancing professionally.

According to Only Wanderlust, travel nursing offers not just the opportunity to explore new destinations but also the potential for higher earnings. In 2021, travel nurses reportedly earned an average of $124.96 per hour, which was three times higher than the pay rate of staff nurses. 

This significant wage difference has prompted 47% of staff nurses to leave their positions in favor of pursuing travel nursing assignments.

In this article, we will emphasize the significance of education and preparation specific to travel nursing, followed by an exploration of popular specializations in this field.

Travel Nursing Education and Preparation 

Before diving into specific specializations, it’s important to address the education and preparation required for travel nursing. While a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is typically the minimum educational requirement, some facilities may prefer or require a higher degree. 

Additionally, obtaining relevant certifications, such as Basic Life Support (BLS) or Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), can enhance your marketability.

To excel in travel nursing, consider pursuing specialized training or certification programs in areas such as critical care, emergency nursing, labor and delivery, pediatrics, operating room nursing, or medical-surgical nursing. These programs provide valuable knowledge and skills specific to your chosen specialization and can make you a more competitive candidate.

According to Elmhurst University, obtaining experience in a range of healthcare applications, such as clinics, hospitals, or long-term care institutions, will help you become more versatile as a travel nurse. Seek opportunities to work in other departments or units in order to acquire a well-rounded skill set.

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Popular Specializations

When it comes to travel nursing, having a specialized focus can open doors to exciting opportunities and allow you to make a significant impact in the healthcare field. Below, we have discussed some of the most popular specializations for travel nurses.

Critical Care Nursing 

Critical care nursing remains a sought-after specialization for travel nurses. These professionals work in intensive care units (ICUs) and handle critically ill patients.

As mentioned by, ICU travel nurses are typically not classified as members of a hospital’s core nursing staff. This is because they are often employed on contractual agreements lasting for 13 weeks. Depending on the terms of the contract, there may be provisions for contract renewal for a predetermined number of times.

With a high demand for critical care services nationwide, travel nurses in this field often find a plethora of assignment options. However, it’s important to note that critical care assignments can be demanding and require advanced skills and certifications.

Emergency Room Nursing

Travel nurses specializing in emergency room (ER) nursing play a vital role in providing immediate care to patients in critical condition. As stated by BBN Times, emergency room travel nurses possess advanced skills in delivering healthcare for diverse medical conditions and emergencies. They exhibit expertise in various medical treatments, demonstrate the capability to make swift decisions, and possess the physical stamina required to provide patient care.

ER assignments offer a fast-paced and dynamic work environment, making it an exciting choice for adventurous nurses. As emergency departments experience high patient volumes, travel nurses can find abundant opportunities in this field. Flexibility, adaptability, and the ability to handle high-stress situations are key qualities for success in ER nursing.

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Labor and Delivery Nursing 

Labor and delivery nursing is a rewarding specialization that involves caring for expectant mothers and assisting with childbirth. Travel nurses in this field often work in hospitals, birthing centers, or maternity clinics. 

With a constant demand for labor and delivery services, travel nurses can find assignments in diverse locations. Being well-versed in prenatal care, assisting in deliveries, and supporting postpartum recovery are essential skills for travel nurses specializing in this field.

Pediatric Nursing 

Travel nurses with a passion for working with children can consider specializing in pediatric nursing. These nurses provide care to infants, children, and adolescents in various healthcare settings. 

The demand for pediatric healthcare remains steady, with opportunities in hospitals, pediatric clinics, and specialty centers. Compassion, patience, and the ability to communicate effectively with young patients and their families are crucial attributes for success in pediatric nursing.


Operating Room Nursing 

Operating room (OR) nursing is an integral part of surgical care. Travel nurses in this specialization assist surgeons during operations, ensuring patient safety and proper sterile techniques. 

OR nursing assignments can be found in hospitals, surgical centers, and ambulatory care facilities. The demand for skilled OR nurses is consistent, offering travel nurses a range of opportunities. Attention to detail, excellent teamwork, and the ability to handle high-pressure situations are essential in this field.

Medical-Surgical Nursing

Medical-surgical nursing is a versatile specialization that covers a broad range of patient populations and healthcare needs. Travel nurses in this field work on general medical-surgical units, handling various medical conditions and assisting with postoperative care. 

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The demand for medical-surgical nurses remains high, making it an excellent choice for travel nurses seeking diverse assignments. Strong assessment skills, multitasking abilities, and the capacity to adapt to different patient populations are crucial for success in this field.

Ending Note

Travel nursing offers an exciting career path with numerous opportunities for professional growth and higher earnings. By choosing in-demand specializations such as critical care nursing, emergency room nursing, labor and delivery nursing, pediatric nursing, operating room nursing, or medical-surgical nursing, travel nurses can optimize their chances of securing desirable assignments. 

Specialized education, diverse healthcare experience, and relevant certifications play a crucial role in enhancing marketability and competitiveness in the field. The demand for skilled travel nurses in these specializations remains steady, providing a range of options and the opportunity to make a meaningful impact in the healthcare industry.  

With the right preparation and a focus on sought-after fields, travel nurses can embark on a rewarding and fulfilling career that combines their passion for nursing with the excitement of exploration and adventure.

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About the author

Collins Nwokolo

Collins Nwokolo is a passionate blogger and an amazing writer. He is a health and fitness enthusiast who loves sharing helpful information to people.

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