10 Types of Travel Nurses

female nurse holding a pen smiling

Reviewed by Nick Gypsy & Bill Murray

When looking to become a travel nurse, you must also consider what specialty you would like to be in. As a travel nurse, the opportunities are endless. So, what are the different types of travel nurses? Read more about all of the top specialties we see in the advanced travel nursing profession here!

Levels of Care 

In the nursing field, there are several different levels of care. Regardless of which you provide, the nurse and nursing assistant are the ones that build relationships with patients during the scariest time of their life. Care and compassion are traits that cannot be taught in a nursing program classroom. Here is a quick outline of each nursing job and the education required. 

1. Registered Nurse

RN – The team leader when it comes to patient care, typically overseeing the LPN and CNA. As an RN you are responsible for administering meds, speaking with the doctor regarding patient status, and helping decide the best care plan. This level of nursing care requires the most school and training. Individuals must hold an Associate of Science in Nursing and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. 

2. Licensed Practical Nurse

An LPN is the primary nursing care provider. Oftentimes the one doing the leg work such as drawing blood and monitoring the patient’s overall progress. The LPN can be the facilitator of information from the care team to the patient and family. These individuals are not required to finish an Associates or Bachelors of Science in Nursing but are required to successfully complete a Practical Nursing School Program.

3. Certified Nursing Assistant

As a CNA, you are taking care of the daily routine. This nursing specialty requires assisting with personal hygiene and providing a level of companionship to patients. The education required is the completion of a High School Diploma or GED and a certification program.



Travel Nurse Specialties 

MAS Medical Staffing has a team of recruiters like no other! We are happy to have a staff of former travel nurses that can speak from their experience and share the benefits of a traveling nurse job. With that said, we’d like to introduce a prior travel nurse and our current travel nurse recruiter, Nick! Most people know him as the TikTok Influencer Nick Gypsy, notorious for his funny and relatable nursing videos. Nick is here to share insight into the top 10 Nursing Specialties. 

“All specialties for qualified nurses require the same nursing degree but certain specialties have different certification requirements that will meet the qualifications of the specialty.

Critical Care – Every Critical Care Nurse’s skill starts with comprehensive education and hands-on training. To succeed in critical care, time management is CRUCIAL to this setting. Professionals must prepare for delegating emergency situations, time management, and the heartbreak it may come with. When a patient’s family is facing less-than-positive news or a routine procedure has a poor outcome, it’s extremely easy to internalize that pain and disappointment with family and patients.

CVICU (Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit) – What’s special about CVICU, is the fact it’s the “heart” of intensive care. To succeed in this specialty, grab a book, get to studying and learn about A-Lines. Receive advanced certifications! The most popular certifications include CCRN (Critical Care Registered Nurse), TCRN (Trauma Certified Registered Nurse), TNS (Trauma Nurse Specialty), and TCAR (Trauma Care after Resuscitation). Ask yourself, “what’s my overall goal for CVICU? Do you enjoy the cardiovascular system, or are you advancing to CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists) school?” We have to remember; self-care and patience are key for successful ICU nursing.

Med Surg – Good ole Med Surg, the heart of the hospital… Literally! It’s not so much a specialty, but it’s every specialty. Med Surg is the most “formal” of the nurse specialties in itself. From placing IVs, learning critical drips or wound care, palliative care, telemetry, everything you didn’t learn in nursing school is on this floor. A tip for successful Med Surg nursing, remind yourself you know nothing and you are always learning.

Trauma – Trauma nursing, the “elite” of all specialties when it comes to skill and critical thinking. To become a successful Trauma nurse, my advice would be to work in the Emergency Room. The transition from ER-to-ER Trauma will be much smoother than transitioning right into it. To thrive in Trauma, you must learn to remain calm in high-stress situations and be prepared for the “front line” of the most INTENSE emergency situations.

Pediatric – ‘Peds’ is the most delicate nursing specialty. To succeed in this role, the best advice I can give is to get on the patient’s level. They are vulnerable, scared, and are seeking the comfort their mother gives them. This role’s key tips are to remain extremely calm, make light of situations, have a calm stay composed, and always keep family involved in the care.

Hospice/ Palliative Care – God’s touch in the last moments of the hardest times of our life. With hospice nursing, I like to call this heart work, instead of hard work. The hospice profession can be quite beautiful, especially knowing that you made a patient’s last memory on this earth worthwhile. Hospice is seen as a bad specialty or the end-all of healthcare, and that’s not the case. Hospice is the comfort of nursing. With this specialty, we have to remind ourselves how this is the end-of-life process and COMFORT is the number one priority. 

Operating Room – Operating room nursing is a specialized field in which qualified nurses provide quality care to patients before, during, and after surgery. As an operating nurse, it’s a must to be able to handle several things at once, and small mistakes can have a major impact on a patient’s well-being. This can be an exciting career field; this is a teamwork specialty. Working well with others is most important in this setting and unlike other specialties, you must be quick with emergency situations and have the ability to stand for the duration of procedures.

Home Health – In-home care, you can do 15 things for one patient, instead of one thing for 15 patients. The best tip for successful home health nursing is to get to know your patient, remember this is one on one care, and it’s a slower-paced setting.

Long Term Care/ Skilled Nursing Facility – In long-term care settings, it is fast-paced, but repetitive nursing. If you are a person that doesn’t like change or can not handle emergency situations, long-term care is a very organized field for nurses. Tips for success in long-term care are to treat all staff equally, time manage your medications and other tasks, and remember to work as a team. Oftentimes, long-term care can be seen as hospital settings, but it is best to treat this setting as if you were working in a patient’s home. 

Long Term Acute Care – Unlike all other specialties, long-term acute care is more of an expanded medical-surgical, telemetry, critical care unit. This type of setting is the most teachable because you will get a mixture of palliative, extended IV therapy, ventilator experience, telemetry, and step-down ICU patients. Long-term acute care is an extended hospital stay for those patients that are continuing life support or haven’t fully succeeded in their medical treatment. Success in this setting would include these tips; delegating tasks, time management, calmness, ability to work in a drastic fast-paced environment, Acute rehabilitation provides an inpatient program of intense therapy in a hospital but the reward for successful discharge is so worth it for an ICU nurse.

How to Get Started as a Travel Nurse

At this point, you are probably wondering how does travel nursing work? Whether you are a new grad or an experienced nurse, MAS Medical Staffing is a travel nursing agency that has assignments all over the country. 

Our clients are happy to work with new graduates as they begin their careers in healthcare. Travel nursing gives new graduates the opportunities to test several different specialties and find the perfect fit for them. As for our experienced nurses, travel nursing offers a sense of adventure and change that is unlike being a permanent staff nurse. We’re offering an opportunity to work and travel to travel nursing assignment destinations you have only dreamed of going to in your nursing career

Speak with one of our dedicated recruiters to learn more about our nationwide selection of travel healthcare jobs. 

About the Reviewers

Bill Murray, Company Leader: Bill has been with the company for over ten years and in the staffing industry for over fifteen. He lives in the state of New Hampshire with his loving wife and their four incredible kids. Outside of work, his family enjoys spending their time outdoors hiking, fishing, hunting, biking, golfing, and going to the beach.

Nick Gypsy, Travel Nurse Recruiter: Nick was a former traveler turned nurse recruiter, having completed 32 assignments in 46 states. While traveling, he was able to finish nursing school and further his career debt-free. Nick was able to do all of this for a career of his passion. He began blogging about his experience and providing advice through the social media platform TikTok under the username NickGypsy. Nick has gained a mass following of almost 100,000 travel nurses. He started with MAS in early August and has enjoyed sharing his insight with his travel nurses. Nick lives in coastal Florida, and in his spare time, he enjoys going to the beach and jet skiing.

Sources: 

  1. “Levels of Nursing Explained”. USAHS. Feb 2021. https://www.usa.edu/blog/levels-of-nursing-explained/ 
  2. “Nursing Specialties”. Johnson & Johnson Nursing. https://nursing.jnj.com/specialty 

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