The Journey from Grad to Traveler - and How to Make the Most of That Two Years’ Experience Requirement

May 26, 2022

Every journey starts somewhere, and for future travel nurses, the path can be less linear to rewarding, high-paying travel assignments, than to many staff jobs. The minute you walk off that graduation stage with your BSN or ADN in nursing is the moment your career really starts. With travel nursing in your sights, it’s bound to take off running at a quick pace, just like you will when you hit the ground running for patients in need as a travel nurse.

Many new grads are anxious to leave their home-base to start traveling. Travel nursing has become a highly sought-after career thanks in large part to social media, the pandemic, and the national nursing shortage - the promise of new experiences, challenging assignments, airline miles, and paid travels around the U.S. draw in many new RNs to this lucrative, high-paying career. Although the drive and motivation is strong to hit the road, many travel hopefuls encounter their first big roadblock right off the bat: the two year requirement.

Most agencies like Fastaff require two years of experience before you can start traveling, which is a necessary step to ensure your career readiness. Why does this requirement exist in the first place? The two-year requirement is there to help you, as tedious as it may seem. During these two years, you’ll gain something that cannot be adequately taught in nursing school. You’ll learn your nursing style, how to work with a variety of real people with real, complex problems. You’ll learn to soothe and sympathize with grieving families, and assert your knowledge and confidence as you learn skills to be a better nurse. With experience comes knowledge, and this is the time to soak up new experiences closer to home that’ll shape you into a well-rounded, experienced and confident RN who can handle the rigors of facility demands to travelers.

We asked our VP of Clinical Services, Michelle B., on her insight into the two-year requirement. Depending on specialty, nurses typically have three months of orientation with a ‘preceptor’. This could be up to six months if in a specialty like critical care, L&D, ER, etc. Since this time will pass rather quickly, Michelle encourages future travelers to enjoy the time in their first hospital setting. “You’ll want to stay in a job long enough so you can be mentored and free to ask all the questions you need to in a more comfortable setting without pressure about what you ‘should know’. When you start traveling, you’re expected to know!”

Michelle also stresses the importance of getting to know yourself as a nurse during these two years. “It takes time to get enough experience with a variety of patients, especially the tough ones. In your home hospital, your patient assignments are going to be determined by what you’re capable of handling alone vs. still need precepting/mentoring on. When traveling, you have you be able to take whatever comes at you.”

Your journey as a nurse will be an adventurous long trip, and whether you end up traveling or stick to something more permanent, ultimately the only thing permanent is change - and the nursing field has quite a bit of change every day. Fastaff travelers are known for their ability to hit the ground running, for their experience and knowledge is unmatched. The best part of traveling with Fastaff is that with every new assignment you take, you become a better nurse with a vast repertoire of knowledge that you can use to go after those assignments with really large paychecks. We can’t wait to have you join the ranks of the elite Fastaff travelers once you are ready. Apply online and we’ll send you a reminder message in 730 days to take an assignment.