Day in and day out, your life is beginning to feel a little stale. You try to mix up your routine to break the monotony, but you suspect it may have something to do with your career.

You love nursing and wouldn’t give it up for the world, but the burnout is real. 

Have you thought about changing specialties as a travel nurse? Switching your travel nurse specialty may be just what you need to help rebreathe life into your career and expand your horizons. 

Let’s go into the details and steps regarding how to change your travel nurse specialty and discuss how you can start your new travel nursing journey today. 


Table of Contents



Top Nursing Specialties for Travel Nurses

Nursing is one of the few careers in which your specialty can significantly change your earning potential, work settings, responsibilities, and interactions. Add travel nursing to the mix, and now you have even more to consider. 

But with so many choices and a diverse pool of opportunities, how do you decide which nursing specialty to pursue? 

Let’s look at the top specialties for travel nurses to get an idea: 

  • Neonatal intensive care unit (NICU): These vital nurses care for newborns who were born prematurely or were born with life-threatening issues. The average salary for a NICU nurse is $2,451 per week. Travel NICU nurses must have additional nursing qualifications, such as two years of clinical experience, PEDS training, and a Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) certification. 
  • Post-anesthesia care unit (PACU): PACU nurses care for patients who have recently undergone anesthesia during surgical procedures. The average PACU nurse salary is $2,311 per week. In addition to a valid nursing license, a travel PACU nurse must have two years of critical care experience, a Basic Life Support (BLS) certification, an Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) certification, and a PALS certification. 
  • Oncology: Travel oncology nurses specialize in caring for cancer patients of all ages. The average salary of a travel oncology nurse is $1,741 per week. Additional qualifications for travel oncology nurses, beyond a standard nursing degree and valid license, include a BLS certification, ACLS certification, two years of clinical experience, and a Certified Oncology Nurse (OCN) certification.  
  • Intensive care unit (ICU): ICU nurses work with critical care patients who have been admitted to an intensive care unit. The average ICU nurse salary is $1,629 per week. Travel ICU nurse qualifications may include a valid nursing license, a BLS certification, ACLS certification, and at least one year of clinical experience. 
  • Emergency Room (ER): ER nurses care nurses treat patients who have been admitted to the emergency room for injuries and illnesses that require immediate care. The average travel ER nurse makes roughly $1,668 per week. Qualifications you need to become a travel ER nurse include a valid nursing license, BLS certification, ACLS certification, NIH stroke certification, and at least two years of clinical experience. 


changing specialties as a travel nurse


10 Tips for Changing Your Travel Nurse Specialty


#1: Determine Your Why

The first thing you should address before changing your travel nurse specialty is why you’re considering the switch.

Sure, you’re looking to shake things up in your nursing career, but what are your priorities? By deciding which factor matters the most, you can develop an idea for which travel nursing specialty may best suit your preferences and needs. 


To Make More Money

Travel nursing can be a lucrative career, but some nurses may find themselves shaking their piggy bank a little when it comes to big future finances. 

Travel nursing allows nurses to make good money while saving on expenses like housing. According to Salary.com, the average travel nurse salary is $94,437 per year, with the typical salary range being from $84,882 to $107,251. 

Of course, this may vary between:

  • Specialty
  • Experience
  • Facility type
  • Geographical location
  • Certifications 
  • And more

Changing your travel nurse specialty could allow you to earn more and save up for significant life expenses such as a wedding, buying a house, family planning, or a big vacation. 

According to Zippia, some of the highest-paying nursing specialties include:

  • Emergency medicine nurse practitioner: $121,000-$400,000 per year
  • Pain management nurse: $345,000-$400,000 per year
  • Gastroenterology nurse practitioner: $108,000-$400,000 per year
  • Certified nurse registered anesthetist: $190,500-$348,000 per year
  • Surgical nurse practitioner: $97,000-$338,000 per year


To Be Challenged

Your day-to-day may seem to drudge on if you’re not feeling challenged. 

Working at a doctor’s office may not be stimulating for everyone. Or maybe you’ve been in your specialty for a few years now, and nothing seems to surprise you anymore.  

While burnout in the field of nursing is most often associated with mental exhaustion and stress, burnout may also be caused by feeling underwhelmed and under-challenged. If you’re looking for a challenge to shake off burnout from boredom, travel nursing requires you to be highly adaptable and quick on your feet. 


To Find Fulfillment

It might be hard to feel fulfilled if your current specialty causes job dissatisfaction. By changing your specialty, you may thrive in a different setting and capacity where you may feel your contributions matter more. 


To Expand Your Skills

Working as a travel nurse is an excellent way to pad your nursing skills and your resume. 

A highly flexible and adaptable nurse is a high-value asset in the healthcare industry. Demonstrating that you can work in a variety of settings without being fazed will be noted by potential employers. 


#2: Evaluate Your Experiences

Use your current experience to determine which settings you may or may not want to work in. Create a list of what you like about your current specialty and what you don’t like. This assessment will help narrow specialties based on the setting, patient types, and responsibilities. 


can travel nurses change specialties


#3: Identify Your Strengths

What are your strengths and weaknesses, and how do they help and/or hinder you in your current position? Explore the required strengths of different nursing specialties. 

For example, the core qualities needed to be an ER nurse may be:

  • Strong emotional resilience
  • Assertive
  • High stamina
  • Able to handle difficult or complex patients

Whereas postpartum nursing may require slightly different qualities, such as:

  • Highly compassionate
  • Patience
  • Good patient-to-nurse communication skills
  • Empathetic

Both jobs require essential nursing qualities, such as good critical thinking skills and a high attention to detail, but each setting may require nurses to operate in a different mode. 


#4: Research the Options

Get a good picture of options that may interest you by researching exactly what the specialty involves, such as:

  • Salary
  • Geographical demand
  • Day-to-day responsibilities
  • Requirements and qualifications

According to Zippia, there are over 15,000 travel nursing jobs in Florida and over 300 in Aurora, CO alone. With so many options and opportunities, how can you quickly explore your options without being at the behest of a nursing recruiter?

Trusted Nurse Staffing powered Pronto to allow prospective travel nurses to easily look through thousands of available travel nurse openings quickly. You can find and arrange contracts based on your desired pay, position, location, and current qualifications using a computer or mobile device. 

But just because you don’t have to wait for a recruiter to help you find travel nursing contracts doesn’t mean we leave you all on your own. 

Our dedicated recruiters are available around the clock to answer any questions or help with the fine details of potential contracts. 


how to change travel nurse specialty


#5: Consider a Related Specialty

Are you looking for a satisfying career change but not looking to plunge into unfamiliar waters? 

Consider switching to a specialty similar enough to be in your wheelhouse, which will still provide you with a new environment, outlook, and exciting possibilities. 

Travel nursing also makes it easy to slightly change your settings and responsibilities without overextending yourself and your ability to provide care. 

For example, if you enjoy working with children as a pediatric nurse at a doctor’s office, you could try to travel nurse on a PEDS floor at a hospital before switching to an intensive specialty like NICU nursing. 


#6: Network With Other Travel Nurses

Who better to learn about changing your travel nurse specialty than other nurses who have done the same?

Talking to other nurses in your desired specialty or other nurses who have changed specialties can help you get an idea of the following: 

  • Necessary education and experience credentials
  • Potential pitfalls in the process
  • Recent industry trends and other travel nursing-related insights

Trusted Nurse Staffing was formed by healthcare professionals for other healthcare professionals. We want to help you find travel nursing jobs that exemplify your value and contributions. 

Whether you are looking to change your travel nurse specialty, enter the travel nursing field, or find another travel nursing contract, our team of dedicated experts will guide you through the process and provide support all throughout your contract. Search travel nursing jobs on Pronto today. 


#7: Experiment as a Floater

If you want to experience other specialties without immediately committing, you may want to consider working as a float nurse. 

Float nurses do not have a static “home department.” They float around as needed and may work on a different floor each day. Some facilities have committed internal float teams, whereas others may rely on per diem nurses to supplement their float pool. 

Float nursing also may give you a taste of what it will be like to be a travel nurse since float nurses also have to adapt to new environments and adhere to new policies and procedures. It may give you a sense of what it is like to work with various patients, coworkers, and responsibilities once you begin your travel nursing career. 


#8: Plan for Continued Education

The easiest way to change your travel nurse specialty may be expanding your education. 

Different specialties may require more education, training, and/or additional certifications. Some aren’t required, but they may help you look like an ideal potential candidate to certain facilities, especially if the specialty is high-risk, high-reward. 

Knowing what to expect may help you narrow your options and develop a realistic education plan for changing your travel nurse specialty. 

One of Trusted Nurse Staffing’s new benefits is student loan assistance, thanks to the CARES Act. Now, we can support our travel nurses with tax-free student loan reimbursements of up to $5,250 a year!

We hope that this may help you breathe a little easier with your current student loans and ease the burden of continuing education to change your specialty.  


tips for changing travel nurse specialty


#9: Update Your Resume and Professional Qualifications

Don’t forget to update your resume and professional qualifications before you begin contacting prospective facilities or travel nursing agencies!

You’ll want to showcase any relevant details, such as qualifications, continued education, and experience within your new specialty, to find the highest-paying contracts in the most desired locations. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the projected job growth for nursing is 6%. This means you’ll have ample opportunity to let your resume shine, find new positions in different specialties, and grow in your career as a travel nurse. 


#10: Inform Your Recruiter

The last step to changing your travel nurse specialty is informing your recruiter. They’ll want to know about this exciting change to best help you move forward. 

You may find that searching for a travel nursing position in a new specialty can be overwhelming. With so many jobs, locations, and possibilities, it can be a little stressful to sit with a recruiter and stare down limitless options. 

Trusted Nurse Staffing has made it easy to search through jobs at the flick of a wrist and a few taps of a button. Search for jobs at home on your couch or out in public while waiting in line. Pronto makes it easy to find available contracts at your leisure. 

Can’t find a job that piques your interest? Don’t give up. You can set your notifications to alert you when a job that has your preferences, requirements, and qualifications becomes available. Start your journey with Pronto and Trusted Nurse Staffing today. 


Trusted Nurse Staffing and Pronto Can Help You Change Your Travel Nurse Specialty and Find Your Next Assignment 

Travel nursing is a flexible career experience where you can choose your own adventure. From specialty to where you work to how much you are paid, you can fine-tune the details of your contract to fit your desires and career goals. 

The field of nursing needs aspiring nurses like yourself to seek new adventures and mold themselves to the needs of the healthcare industry and its patients. 

Travel nurses are extremely valuable members of society. They need a travel nursing agency that values, understands, and supports them. Trusted Nurse Staffing champions nurses by offering high pay, comprehensive benefits, and 24/7 assistance. 

Choose the travel nursing assistance you deserve. Trust in Trusted Nurse Staffing and Pronto to help you throughout your travel nursing journey today.


how to change travel nurse specialty